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China's Liu Xiang retires

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By Euronews
China's Liu Xiang retires

Former Olympic champion Liu Xiang announced his retirement on Tuesday.

The 31 year-old became an icon in China after he won the country’s first Olympic men’s track and field gold medal in the 110 metres hurdles in Athens in 2004. He also won a world championship in 2007 and held the world record in 2006 with a time of 12.88 seconds.

Liu, who will be remembered in his country as the man who proved that Asian athletes can compete with the world’s best sprinters, said he wanted to help Chinese athletics to have a greater impact on the international stage and added he hoped he could help the development of youth sports.

A hugely-popular figure in China, Liu’s career was also hindered by a series of injury setbacks.

He had been affected by an Achilles problem ever since it caused him to pull out of his first heat at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

After a 13 month layoff, Liu had surgery after failing to clear the first hurdle in the heats at the London Olympics in 2012 and never fully recovered.