China’s 2004 Olympic 110m hurdles champion said to be due to hang up his spikes in the near future

Liu Xiang is set to announce his retirement next week, according to reports.

The news agency Agence France-Presse reported how Liu’s coach, Sun Haiping, said the 2004 Olympic 110m hurdles champion is “preparing” to announce his retirement, with The Associated Press adding how that announcement is expected on Tuesday.

News of the 31-year-old’s retirement is not unexpected. He has not raced competitively since sustaining an Achilles injury at the London 2012 Olympic Games. That followed earlier injury problems which also saw him withdraw from the Beijing 2008 Games.

Liu had not been expected to return to the Bird’s Nest to play a competitive part in this summer’s IAAF World Championships. After being named as an event ambassador with 200 days to go earlier this year, Chinese media reported how the athlete had commented that his chances of competing at the event “seem to be very limited”.

After winning his 2004 Olympic title in a then world record-equalling time, Liu went on to claim world gold in 2007 and the world indoor 60m hurdles title in 2008. Liu broke the world record in 2006 with 12.88, a time that sees him sit third on the world 110m hurdles all-time list behind Aries Merritt and Dayron Robles.

After his injury at the London Olympics, Britain’s Andy Turner and Spain’s Jackson Quinonez helped Liu off the track, with Turner having also retired last year after suffering long-term Achilles problems.