Wed, August 15, 2012
Sports > Popular News > 2012 London Olympic Games

Liu Xiang returns home in a wheelchair

2012-08-15 01:36:08 GMT2012-08-15 09:36:08(Beijing Time)


Former Olympic champion Liu Xiang wants to return to competition after crashing out of the 110 meters hurdles heat at the London Games last week with an Achilles tendon injury.

"It's all going well, just another scar for me," Liu said on his return home to Shanghai after surgery in London.

"I'm mainly recuperating now, as at the moment I can't move, so I have to rest quietly," he said, adding that he might be able to start jogging after about two months. Xinhua news agency reported.

Asked if he wanted to return to the track to compete again, Liu said: "Of course, of course I want to."

Despite an 11-hour flight, Liu, his lower right leg in a cast and sitting in a wheelchair, was in good spirits when he greeted waiting reporters at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport yesterday morning with his signature smile.

"My priority right now is to recover," he said. "According to my doctor, I can take off the cast after two weeks and change it to a medical boot after a month."

Liu said his foot was still painful. "I'm taking pain killers," he said. "The doctor told me to take the pills for three days and the pain should be gone by then."

The 29-year-old appeared for just a few minutes before being wheeled to a waiting vehicle.

"He's not going to retire now while it would be too early to talk about the 2016 Olympics. Our top priority is to help him recover," said Sun Haiping, Liu's coach. "According to the doctor's advice, Liu could gradually try some exercise after three months."

Rehabilitation plans

Sun said the team had already mapped out plans for Liu's rehabilitation.

"It's also too early to talk about next year's national games," Sun said. "We'll see how the rehabilitation goes."

Chen Shiyi, a doctor on Liu's medical team, was optimistic about the athlete's recovery.

"Tendon fracture is a common injury in sports," Chen told reporters. "The treatment was very satisfying and rehabilitation began the day after surgery."

The former Olympic champion had been suffering from Achilles problems since 2008 when the 2004 Olympic champion was also forced to withdraw from the men's 110m hurdles in Beijing.

The injury began to flare up again less than a month before the London Olympics and ended in disaster when Liu fell at the first hurdle during his heat.

Sun said Liu had not fully recovered from the 2008 injury.

"After surgery in 2008, there were some ups and downs of his injury and the pain is always there," Sun said.

While Liu and his team still expect his career to continue, his fans say they will support whatever decision is made.

"No matter he will run or not, health is always the most important and I'll always support him," said a fan who rushed to the airport from the neighboring Jiangsu Province at 6am to welcome Liu.

"If he really wants to run, of course I'll support him but I don't want him to sacrifice his health."

Another fan said: "I'll support him if he still wants to hurdle but after all he's already 29 and I'll support him anyway if he changes his career to another field."



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