Monday, August 29, 2011
Side by side. 2 Olympic champions in action. The 2004 Olympic champion and 2007 world champion and former world record holder (12.88 seconds), China's Liu Xiang (left) with the 2008 Olympic Champion and current world record holder (12.87 seconds), Dayron Robles of Cuba in the final of the eagerly awaited 110 metres hurdles at the 2011 IAAF World Athletics Championship in Daegu, South Korea on 29th August 2011. However, to the surprise of the world, none of these two won the gold medal.
At the finishing line, Liu Xiang finished 3rd, Robles initially finished in gold medal position but was later disqualified after unintentionally holding or pulling Liu Xiang's left hand at the last and final hurdle during the race. Instead unheralded and lowly-rated USA's hurdler, Jason Richardson,(top at the picture above in lane 3) won the gold medal after Robles disqualification.
Here, it can be seen that Robles right hand made contact with Liu Xiang's left hand. The fatal attractions between these 2 men cost the Chinese superstar and the Cuban super-sprinter the gold medal and the title as world 110 metres hurdles world champion.
Video above showed clearly how Liu Xiang tumbled at the last and final hurdle causing him to lost his balance and the gold medal. Liu Xiang was accelerating fast and should have won the gold medal. Liu Xiang very rarely hits the hurdles in any of his races.
As a result of the contact, Robles was stripped of his gold medal pending an inquiry and after the Chinese camp lodged an official protest.
American Jason Richardson, who finished second behind Robles was installed as world champion and gold medalist with the Chinese handed silver pending the investigation into the race, which might be re-run, according to the governing IAAF.
Robles, the 24-year-old world record holder and 2008 Olympic champion, made contact with Liu at least twice on his way to crossing the line first in 13.14 seconds.
Liu tripped on the last hurdle, a rarity for the 2004 Olympic Champion and 2007 world champion, and was only able to finish third in 13.27 behind Richardson, who finished in 13.16.
"Robles hit me twice, at the ninth hurdle he pulled at me but I'm sure it wasn't intentional," Liu told reporters.
"I lost my balance when I came to the 10th hurdle because of the bump. If not for the incident, I would been the gold medallist."
The pair embraced after the race but the Chinese team later lodged a protest resulting in Robles being disqualified and Richardson being handed the gold.
Britain's Andy Turner was awarded bronze.
"I wish that under different circumstances he could keep the medal but rules are rules," Richardson, 25, said.
"Anything can happen in track and field if you just do your best and stay in your lane.
"I am so thankful to be the gold medallist. I truly believe I can break Robles's world record (of 12.87 seconds)."
It was a disappointing end to the race for Liu, who was starting to return to his best form after 3 years of misery and injury since he limped out of the heats at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Robles, who has also had his fair share of injuries over the past couple of years, got away to a great start from lane 5 and raced to the lead over the first 5 hurdles.
Liu, next to him in lane 6, was gaining ground all the time, though, and looked like he was surging past the Cuban until the contact was made, allowing Robles and Richardson to beat him to the line.
"That's hurdling, it happens all the time, it just so happens that this time it happened to the two fastest hurdlers ever at the world championship," said 4 times world champion Allen Johnson, who described the contest as a "great, great race".
Huge disappointment too for American David Oliver, the fastest man this year with a personal best of 12.89 seconds was fifth and later upgraded to fourth, in 13.44 seconds.