Olympics: Heartbreak for Liu and Idowu in Tuesday’s qualificationAugust 7th, 2012 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS
London, Aug 7 (IANS) There were two major surprises Tuesday on the athletics track as China’s 110 metres hurdler Liu Xiang and British triple-jump hope Phillips Idowu both failed to progress in their events.
Liu, who has been struggling with an Achilles tendon problem, crashed into the first hurdle in his heat, but insisted on hopping the length of the track to finish the distance, while the other competitors waited respectfully for him, reports Xinhua.
The 80,000 strong crowd gave the Athens Olympic champion a round of applause when his arm was lifted up by Hungarian runner Balazs Baji, while Britain’s Andy Turner, who won the heat, showed his respect for Liu by helping him to complete the distance.
“I regard him as the best hurdler in history and I have so much respect for him,” said Turner. “It was horrible to see him limp off like that so I had to go and help him.”
The leader of the Chinese athletics team, Fenn Shuyong, praised the attitude shown by Liu and the other athletes.
“We’ve all seen how hard it is for him. It is such a pity but his spirit is there. It is the true Olympic spirit, that winning is not so important, participation is what matters,” said Fenn.
The great Usain Bolt, who won his heat of the 200 metres qualifying heats with ease, also had words for Liu.
“It must be hard for that to happen for the second time in a row. He’s a great athlete. One of the most amazing things is that he came back. He switched legs and started leading with a different leg. He’s a true champion. It’s so sad for him,” said Bolt.
There was also a disappointing news for Idowu, who only arrived at the Olympic Village Monday after undergoing treatment for a hip injury. The 33-year-old from East London was competing in virtually his own back yard, but was unable to produce his best and finished 14th in qualification with a best jump of 16.53, nine centimetres short of qualification.
“I felt OK. I knew I was a bit rusty but the wind conditions didn’t help. My hop and step was great but my timing was off. The goal was always to come for the Olympic gold medal, so it’s a shame that I didn’t make it to the final.”
Idowu had been criticized by the British athletics authorities for not notifying them of his whereabouts in the run in to the Games as he struggled to regain fitness and felt he had not done himself justice.
“I have seen the crowd give so much support this week and I accept I let them down. I was tagged as a favourite a year ago but now I don’t get a chance to show them what I can do,” he accepted.
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Tags: achilles tendon, amazing things, andy turner, athens olympic, baji, chinese athletics, east london, fenn, heartbreak, hurdler, liu xiang, olympic champion, olympic spirit, olympic village, phillips idowu, triple jump, true champion, undergoing treatment, usain bolt, xinhua