Former Olympic 110m hurdles champion Liu Xiang said he was unsure if he would be fit to defend his world title in Berlin next year as he prepared to go under the knife to resolve a painful foot problem.
Liu, the home favorite who hobbled away from the track injured moments before his first-round heat at the Beijing Olympics in August, told reporters at the IAAF's World Athletics Gala that he would need six months to recover from the operation to remove calcifications on his Achilles tendon.
"I don't care so much about next season, whether I compete or not," the 25-year-old Liu said, adding he did not know if would make the Aug 15-23 worlds in Germany. "I'm more concerned about my recovery.
"I really can't remember clearly the last time I didn't feel any pain. I always felt pain when wearing spikes."
It was even with him, he said, when he set the then world record of 12.88 seconds in Lausanne in 2006.
Liu will finally undergo surgery to remove the deposits next month in Houston. Although the problem lingered for years, Xiang said he had no regrets about not repairing the problem earlier.
"I competed early in the season, at the Olympic test event and felt quite good," he said.
"I never thought I couldn't compete in the Olympic Games. When I entered the stadium, I didn't think that I couldn't compete. I just tried to do my best."
Liu insisted the pressure on his shoulders was no different from any other Chinese athlete.
"Every Chinese athlete had pressure. I could feel the pressure four years ago (in Athens). People wanted me to win. But for athletes, anything could happen. It's normal and fair to accept winning and losing."
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