Nick Mulvenney reports in the Reuters:
Liu Xiang‘s dream of defending his Olympic title on home soil ended on Monday when he failed to start his first-round heat in the 110 meters hurdles.
China’s world champion, the host nation’s best hope of an athletics gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, pulled up after a false start and hobbled down the tunnel to leave the Bird’s Nest stadium in stunned silence. The 25-year-old’s coach and mentor Sun Haiping said on Sunday that Liu, whose preparations for the Games have been hindered by a hamstring injury, was suffering with an inflamed Achilles tendon.
A capacity crowd at the Bird’s Nest Stadium was stunned into silence this morning as the Olympic 110m hurdles champion and Chinese national hero Liu Xiang withdrew injured from the first round of the event.
“Liu Xiang has two injuries, one in his foot and one in his leg,” his coaches told a news conference. “One of the injuries is an accumulated injury.”
Tickets for the morning qualifying session were entirely sold out and the atmosphere electric, solely because the Chinese fans were so keen to watch Xiang race in the final heat of qualifying.
When the gun went, Xiang was tentative from the blocks. The runners were recalled for a false start. Xiang bent forward, clutched his leg and turned to walk off the track.
The following photos are from Chinese BBS wenxuecity.com, DWnews.com and others.