30 Oct 2008

Liu Xiang may need psychological help

6:25 am on 30 October 2008

China's head athletics coach says the world 110 metres hurdles champion Liu Xiang may need psychological help to deal with the memory of his dramatic exit from the Beijing Olympics.

The former world record holder has gone to the United States to consult with doctors over the injury that robbed him of the chance to defend his Olympic title on home soil.

Liu, China's only realistic hope of a gold in athletics at the Beijing Games, hobbled out of the Bird's Nest after an Achilles problem left him incapable of getting into the starting blocks for his opening heat on August 18.

Liu's long-term coach and mentor Sun Haiping says the 25-year-old may never recover sufficiently to reach the level of performance that won him the 2004 Olympic gold, the world record in 2006 and the world title in 2007.