(AFP) – May 25, 2008
BEIJING (AFP) — China's world champion hurdler Liu Xiang false-started twice at a pre-Olympic event here last week because Chinese officials are too slow with the starting gun, his coach Sun Haiping said.
"International race starters and Chinese race starters are not the same when it comes to firing the starting pistol," Sun told Chinese journalists.
He said international officials were quick on the trigger while the Chinese were slow.
That will create problems for Liu, the 110m hurdles world record holder and reigning Olympic champion, at the August 8-24 Olympic Games during which Chinese officials will start the races, his coach said.
"This incident sounded alarm bells for us. We are going to have to arrange something in training to counteract this so he can get used to the Chinese way and avoid any problems at the Olympics," Sun was quoted as saying on the Yahoo China website on Sunday.
Liu, 24, was taking part in the China Open athletics championship at the main Olympic Stadium, a test event for the August Games.
The Chinese sporting idol is a notoriously slow starter. But he false-started on Friday during a semi-final and again on Saturday during the final, which he eventually won in 13.18 sec.
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