August 6, 2009 / 4:40 AM / 10 years ago

China sets low bar for Berlin without Liu

China's hurdles star Liu Xiang is seen at a training base in Shanghai in this September 24, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has modest expectations of success at the world championships in Berlin later this month with high hurdler Liu Xiang still sidelined through injury.

Half of China’s 32-strong team will be making their debuts at the Aug. 15-23 championships and hopes are not high that they can match the one gold, one silver and one bronze they won in Osaka two years ago, when Liu was crowned 110 metres hurdles champion.

“The results we achieved at the last world championships misled people that the level of China’s athletics has improved a lot, but ... we are still at a low level,” head coach Feng Shuyong told Thursday’s China Daily.

“Due to the absence of Liu and the poor condition of some veterans we are facing a most difficult situation at the worlds this time,” he added.

Liu will miss Berlin because of the Achilles injury that robbed him of the chance to defend his Olympic gold medal in Beijing last year. The former world record holder hopes to be back on the track later this year.

China’s best hopes of medals are men’s 20km race walker Wang Hao and women’s discus thrower Song Aimin, who both have the third best performance in the world this year in their respective events, according to the IAAF.

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