Defending champion Liu Xiang of China pulled out of the first round of men's 110m hurdles at the Beijing Olympic Games on Monday morning.
In the last heat of the first round, Liu quit the race after a false start of Marcel van der Westen of the Netherlands. Liu limped off the track, obviously being troubled by a foot injury.
Liu's coach Sun Haiping said in a post-race press conference, "His right heel injury has been a long problem since six years ago, even before the Athens Olympics."
"On August 16, we arrived at the Olympic village, medical experts analyzed Liu's injury and specified there was a problem on his Achilles's tendon," said Sun.
World record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba earlier breezed through to the next round, clocking 13.39 seconds.
He said, "I'm perfect today, and the track is good for breaking world record."
Without Liu and Olympic silver medallist Terrence Trammell of the U.S., who fell down to the track in heat five, Robles will be almost unbeatable in the finals.
Liu's teammates Shi Dongpeng and Ji Wei were also qualified for the next round.
Sun Haiping, Liu Xiang's coach, at the press conference
(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2008)