Brilliant Liu reigns in rainy Shanghai

Brilliant Liu reigns in rainy Shanghai

Chinese champ sets fastest time of the year

China's Liu Xiang lit up a rain-soaked Shanghai Diamond League meeting with the quickest 110 metres hurdles time of the year on Saturday, sprinting to victory in 12.97 seconds to the delight of his home town crowd.

China’s Liu Xiang (centre) powers towards the finishline in the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai on Saturday. AFP

If the former world champion was trying to lower expectations about his chances of regaining the Olympic title he relinquished through injury in Beijing, he went about it in the wrong way in front of more than 40,000 screaming compatriots.

A blistering start put him well clear by the halfway mark and he raced across the line half a metre ahead of American David Oliver (13.13) before ripping off his shirt in delight at the first sub-13 second time of the year.

"I am really happy. I executed well, I ran my own race and wasn't thinking about the others. I just did what I had to do and I won," the 28-year-old told reporters. "The crowd came out despite the wind and rain and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I had to put on a fantastic performance for them,’’ he added.

Former world record holder Asafa Powell won the men's 100m easing up but he failed to add to his record tally of sub-10 second times when he crossed the line in 10.02 ahead of American Michael Rodgers (10.08).

"I did technically well so I'm happy," the Jamaican said. "I felt good, it went well but it was raining so I didn't push too hard,’’ he added.

His compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown was not able to ease up in her first 200 metres run of the year as she did battle with American Carmelita Jeter in a showdown of the world sprint champions.

Jeter came at the Jamaican three times down the home straight but Campbell-Brown, who will be going for a third straight gold in the event in London, had enough in the tank to see her home in 22.50 seconds.

"The more I win the more confident I become," she said. "This was my first 200 metres of the year and I have a lot of work to do but I know from how I felt in this one that each race will get better so I'm just praying for good health,’’ Jeter added.
World indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba did not hold back in the women's 1500 metres either and sprinted home in three minutes 57.77 seconds, by far the fastest time of the year and the quickest ever run by an Ethiopian woman.

"I am very, very happy," said Dibaba, the 21-year-old sister of Olympic 5,000 and 10,000m champion Tirunesh. "I felt strong and I had a good feeling that I would win,’’ she added.

Her compatriot Kenenisa Bekele, whose 5,000-10,000 metres double was one of the highlights of the Beijing Olympics, managed just fifth place in his first 5,000 of the season behind compatriot Hagos Gebrhwet, who won in 13.11.00. 

Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker's revival proved short-lived as just a week after he nailed the London qualifying height in Perth with a jump of 5.72m, he failed to get into the air in three attempts at 5.30m.

Results: Men: 100M: Asafa Powell (Jamaica) 10.02 seconds, 1; Michael Rodgers (US) 10.08, 2; Nesta Carter (Jamaica) 10.16, 3. 800M: Leonard Kirwa Kosencha (Kenya) 1:46.04, 1; Timothy Kitum (Kenya) 1:46.20, 2; Andre Olivier (South Africa) 1:46.74, 3. 5000M: Hagos Gebrhiwet (Ethiopia) 13:11.00, 1; Thomas Longosiwa (Kenya) 13:11.73, 2; John Kipkoech (Kenya) 13:12.66, 3. 110M hurdles: Liu Xiang (China) 12.97 seconds, 1; David Oliver (US) 13.13, 2; Jason Richardson (US) 13.16, 3.
400M hurdles: Angelo Taylor (US) 48.98 seconds, 1; Justin Gaymon (US) 49.07, 2; Cheng Wen (China) 49.59, 3.

Triple Jump: Phillips Idowu (Britain) 17.24 metres, 1; Will Claye (US) 17.12, 2; Christian Taylor (US) 16.96, 3. Javelin throw: Vitezslav Vesely (Czech Republic) 85.40 metres, 1; Matthias De Zordo (Germany) 81.62, 2; Ari Mannio (Finland) 80.91, 3.
Shot put: Reese Hoffa (US) 20.98 metres, 1; Dylan Armstrong (Canada) 20.93, 2; Ryan Whiting (US) 20.73, 3.
Pole vault: Yang Yansheng (China) 5.65 metres, 1; Bjoern Otto (Germany) 5.65, 2; Malte Mohr (Germany) 5.55, 3.
Women: 200M: Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica) 22.50 seconds, 1; Carmelita Jeter (US) 22.62, 2; Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria) 22.71, 3.
400M: Novlene Williams-Mills (Jamaica) 50.00 seconds, 1; Amantle Montsho (Botswana) 50.83, 2; Kaliese Spencer (Jamaica) 51.81, 3.
1500M: Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) 3:57.77, 1; Abeba Arigawe (Ethiopia) 3:59.23, 2; Btissam Lakhouad (Morocco) 4:01.69, 3.
3000M steeplechase: Milcah Chemos Cheywa (Kenya) 9:15.81, 1; Sofia Assefa (Ethiopia) 9:16.83, 2; Lydiah Chepkurui (Kenya) 9:22.66, 3.
Long jump: Janay DeLoach (US) 6.73 metres, 1; Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria) 6.64, 2; Funmi Jimoh (US) 6.53, 3.
High jump: Chaunte Lowe (US) 1.92 metres, 1; Zheng Xingjuan (China) 1.92, 1; Marina Aitova (Kazakhstan) 1.88, 3. Discus throw: Sandra Perkovic (Croatia) 68.24 metres, 1; Stephanie Brown Trafton (US) 64.20, 2; Dani Samuels (Australia) 62.34, 3.

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