15 November, 2018

Liu Xiang's Final Triumph

  • © Errol Anderson

The Diamond League has provided some tear-jerking homecomings over the years, and one of the first came in 2012, when Liu Xiang won what would prove to be his final race on Chinese soil in Shanghai.

Arguably the greatest Chinese track athlete ever, Liu Xiang was crowned as both Olympic Champion and World Champion in a glistening career in the 110m hurdles.

It could have been an even more successful career had it not been for two heartbreaking setbacks at consecutive Olympic Games. After dropping out of his first heart at his home games in Beijing in 2008 due to an achilles problem, Liu then suffered the same fate four years later, as he hit the first hurdle with his leading foot and pulled his achilles tendon again.

It would prove to be an emotional farewell for the Chinese, who would never race again, and it put his Diamond League performance a few months earlier into even starker perspective. 

Liu had run 12.97 at the Shanghai Diamond League, setting a new meeting record in his home town and celebrated in style, whipping off his vest and charging around the bend after crossing the line. 

It was an emotional moment which would prove to be his final race on Chinese soil. Despite his Olympic setbacks, the Diamond League at least gave Liu Xiang the chance to send his adoring home fans into delight one last time.