April 03, 2015

BEIJING (AP) China's former Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang plans to announcement his retirement next week following years of nagging injuries, a local newspaper reported Friday.

The Shanghai native has not competed since withdrawing at the London Olympics in 2012 after rupturing his Achilles tendon. He pulled out of the 2008 Beijing Games with a similar injury and years of treatment have apparently failed to fix the problem.

The 31-year-old Liu became one of China's best-known athletes by winning the 110-meter hurdles title at the 2004 Athens Olympics in a then-world record time.

The Shanghai newspaper Xinmin News said Liu would announce his retirement on his official microblog on Tuesday. He would then join former NBA star Yao Ming and tennis champion Li Na in the ranks of world-class Chinese athletes who have recently retired.

Liu had already announced that he did not expect to compete at the athletics world championships in Beijing in August.

''The possibility is pretty slim,'' Liu was quoted as saying by the English-language newspaper China Daily in February. ''I might be able to take part in the event in another role.''

The Shanghai athletics federation said it had no information on an announcement and contact information was not available for either Liu or his long-term coach, Sun Haiping.

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