Sun Haiping is confident of a full recovery for World 110m Hurdles champion Liu Xiang whose pull-out from his Olympic title defense in the opening round at the Beijing Olympic Games was one of the media headlines of the fortnight of sports competition in the Chinese capital.
The Beijing Games demise of Liu Xiang, the 2004 Olympic champion and former World record holder for the sprint hurdles, due to an inflammation of his right Achilles' tendon, famously came about on the morning of 18 August. After settling into the blocks in obvious agony for the start of his heat, a false start was called. On the recall it was clear to China’s number one sports star that he would be unable to place necessary weight on the tendon to start again, let alone race.
In great distress in front of a stunned capacity crowd of 90,000, Liu Xiang removed his leg numbers, and walked off the track.
Ever since that fateful moment in the Bird’s Nest stadium Liu Xiang’s recovery from injury has been closely monitored by practitioners of both Chinese and western medicine. While there remains the possibility that Liu Xiang will under-go surgery this autumn in the USA, Sun Haiping has from the beginning sided on a more cautious, less
interventionist approach to the injury.
Working out at his Xinzhuang training base, Shanghai, Liu Xiang last month started testing the tendon doing exercises in a kneeling position, holding onto a steel handrail, stretching out his left leg, with a thick sponge cushion under his right knee.
"It's more challenging kneeling than in a standing position," said Coach Sun of the testing of the tendon.
The coach also confirmed he was more in favor of a mild treatment such as massage and Chinese traditional medicine, as he was concerned an operation might cause ever-lasting impairment to the tendon.
"I am confident that Liu will recover 90 percent if he receives a conservative treatment,” commented the coach.
"If everything goes all right, Liu will back to the competition track next June," Sun Haiping confirmed recently. "He's already recovered 80 percent and has even tried to clear some hurdles.... After a steady recovery, Liu is still capable of running to 12.88 or 12.87 seconds.”
"Everything has passed and what I'm expecting now is to fully recover soon," said Liu Xiang who enjoyed the mid-autumn festival holiday with his family in Shanghai.
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