Robles threatens Liu

(Reuters) Dayron Robles’s 110 metres hurdles world record will provide added motivation for Liu Xiang ahead of the Beijing Olympics, according to the Chinese world champion’s coach.

Cuban Robles shaved a hundredth of a second off the record Liu held for two years with his run of 12.87 seconds in the Czech Republic on Thursday, confirming his status as Olympic champion Liu’s main rival for gold in Beijing.

“Certainly it’s a kind of motivation for Liu and me,” coach Sun Haiping said.

“Sport is competition. For this event, Liu led in the past but now Robles has the advantage. Therefore, we must improve ourselves again.”

Liu, 24, equalled Colin Jackson’s world mark of 12.91 seconds when he won gold in Athens and claimed the record for himself in Lausanne two years later.

Robles, 21, has been in sparkling form this year, particularly in the indoor season when he set six of the seven fastest times over 60m.

Liu’s preparations for Beijing have been disrupted by a hamstring problem and a disqualification, which kept him out of the last two major races he planned to run before the Games.

Sun said the new mark would not affect the way Liu planned to prepare for his Olympic title defence.

“I will not make any big changes to our training schedule. There is not much time left,” he said.

“We haven’t lost our confidence.’

“It is such a good time. Wow, I did not expect that,” said Robles, whose previous best was 12.92 secs.

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