Former 110m hurdles Olympic Champion Liu Xiang, is set to celebrate his 29th birthday on Friday 13 July by running in London - for the first time in his career - at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace.
Xiang, China’s most high-profile athlete, will be a highlight of the Friday evening session at London’s two-day Samsung Diamond League meet and he is looking forward to making his debut in the British capital ahead of an extended stay this summer for the Olympic Games.
“I am really excited to be competing in London for the first time ever at the Aviva London Grand Prix. The event will be a great opportunity for me to experience the conditions and atmosphere of the Olympic host city just two weeks before the Games.”
After winning Olympic gold in Athens then dramatically being forced to pull out of his home Olympic Games in Beijing four years later through injury, Xiang will attempt to become the first sprint hurdler ever to lose then regain the Olympic title this summer.
With the meet just two weeks before the Olympic Opening Ceremony, Xiang will use the Aviva London Grand Prix as the final leg of his race preparation for the Games.
“This will be my last race before the Olympic Games so I will be looking for a very strong performance. The London Diamond League will be the perfect race for me to complete my preparation as I challenge for a second Olympic gold medal this summer.”
Xiang has looked back to his world-beating best this outdoor season after implementing a new stride pattern and remaining injury-free over the winter. After two impressive wins in the Samsung Diamond League events in Shanghai and Eugene this year, he is running at near-World Record pace and believes that he is on track for glory in London.
“My form has been good so far this season and my preparation is on target. The line-up at the London Diamond League is tough and running against world-class athletes in Olympic conditions will be a good test for me.”
Having left his rivals trailing behind him – including Cuban Olympic champion and World Record holder Dayron Robles – in a barnstorming indoor victory at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham in February, Xiang makes no secret of his enjoyment at returning to British shores for an extended period this summer.
“I really enjoy racing in the UK, although I have not had many chances in my career. The crowd in February was amazing and I am looking forward to an even better atmosphere in London, hopefully with a lot of support from the Chinese community.”
The men’s 110m hurdles heats and final will take place on Friday 13 July at the Aviva London Grand Prix.
Back the team and watch the world’s best athletes in action at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on 13-14 July. For tickets, visit www.uka.org.uk/aviva-series or call 08000 55 60 56.