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Interview with Liu Xiang: ‘I don't have a lot of opportunities left’
Liu Xiang, Shanghai's flying man, talks about his preparation for the Asian Games and how he’s going to make the most of his time on top
This year, Shanghai-born, men's 110-meter hurdler Liu Xiang has only enrolled in two international competitions: the Diamond League IAAF Shanghai held this past May, and the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games, now in full swing, running November 12 to 27.
The preliminaries of the Asian Games men's 110-meter hurdles start on Monday, and Liu will be there to defend his title.
This is Liu’s third time participating in the Asian Games, making appearances at Busan in 2002 and Doha in 2006.
Before taking the field in Guangzhou, Liu speaks about his preparations for the competition.
CNNGo: The Asian Games is one of the first competitions you participated in after your injury. Do you think you’ll be back on your game?
In the past two years, I participated in far fewer competitions than in 2005 and 2006, and didn't perform as well either. Now I'm trying to make up for what I lost [due to injuries]. I have faith that I can come back and that I'm still good. I know I still have room for growth.
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CNNGo: How is your training regime going for the Asian Games?
My whole body is sore lately and I'm really tired -- even too tired to speak. I been doing intensive training since September. It's not so bad though, it's just my training has increased a lot compared with before.
Everything I've been doing this year though has been in preparation for the Asian Games, so it's worth it. I must do my best.
CNNGo: Will this high-intensive training adversely affect your performance at the games?
It shouldn't. Although I'm tired, I'm in a great mood. I have confidence in myself, and that's the most important thing. I arrived in Guangzhou in early October mainly to get used to the environment and the climate, so I should be fine.
CNNGo: What do you do when you are not training?
I usually train in the mornings and afternoons, and then receive my rehabilitation therapy in the evenings. My training schedule hardly leaves me time to breathe. I have a very full day, so I don't actually have free time to go out.
CNNGo: In order to prepare for the Asian Games, you went to the United States to treat your injuries. How did that go?
I weighed about 87 kg before I went, and now I'm about 83.84 kg. I think it will be very difficult for me to get back to the condition I was in before the injury, but I need to try. When I train, I try to awaken the memories of winning the Olympic champion and breaking world record.
I have a good attitude toward everything. However, it was only because the Asian Games were coming up that I went to the United States for treatment. I wouldn't have needed to go if it wasn't for that. My original training and treatment here was already enough.
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CNNGo: Sounds like you are quite ambitious.
I am. I hope next year's World Championships and the Olympics the year after the next will give me another chance to show people what I can do. I hope I will be able to take advantage of this opportunity. After all, I'm already 27 years old and can't run for much longer, but I care about all opportunities I have now.
I think I'm in a good situation now after all my effort. I know I don't have a lot of opportunities left, so the question is whether I can grasp them. I am someone who cherish opportunities.
CNNGo: Who will be your biggest threat to your title at the Asian Games?
I probably won't know until I reach the finish line, but my goal is of course the three consecutive championship titles, so hopefully no one [is too much competition].
This season is over, but I'm still training for the good results since in the end my biggest competitor is always myself. If I can beat my record, everything will be fine.
CNNGo: If you can't say yourself, who's else would you say will give you some stiff competition?
If I can't say that I am my greatest competition, then of course it would be Da Shi [Shi Dongpeng]. I hope he has fully prepared to race at the Asian Games.
There are more Shanghai-born athletes making waves than just Liu Xiang, find them at "10 of Shanghai's best sporting superstars."
Translated by Xing Zhao