Reuters - Wed, 03 Mar 09:05:00 2010
China's former Olympic champion Liu Xiang will defend his 60 metres hurdles title at the World Indoor Championships in Doha next week, according to the IAAF website.
The 26-year-old, who won the title in Valencia two years ago, will be making his return to top global competition for the first time since his Olympic title defence ended with an Achilles injury at the Beijing Games in August 2008.
Liu, who returned to the track in his home city of Shanghai last September after surgery to repair the injury, said he was far from his best and would be no match for Cuba's Dayron Robles, who took Liu's 110m crown in Beijing.
"It is ridiculous to think that I will even get on the podium," he told China Sports Daily.
"My goal is to get to the final. At the moment, there is no doubt that I would lose to Robles in 60 or 110 metres. He is clearly the best in the world now."
Robles, who made a mistake in a heat to miss out on the final in Valencia two years ago, will be favourite but faces a strong challenge from American twice world indoor champion Terrence Trammell, who has the leading time of the year, 7.41 seconds.
Liu is currently in Beijing for the annual meeting of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the advisory body to the national parliament of which has been a member for three years.
The 13th World Indoor Championships take place from March 12-14 in the Qatari capital.