Chinese star hurdler Liu Xiang has publicly apologised for letting the nation down after he quit the Olympics due to an injury but also vowed to stage a comeback.
Liu, 25, World and Olympic champion, pulled out of the 110m hurdles qualifying heats because of a worsened tendon injury in his right foot, dashing China's only gold hope in Olympic track.
"So many people have been worried and caring about me. I feel sorry. I could do nothing but pull out of the race," Liu told Chinese state television CCTV on Monday night, which aired a partial interview with Liu on Tuesday morning.
"I didn't feel right when I was warming up before the race," said Liu. "I knew my foot would fail me. I felt painful when I was just jogging," her added.
"Two weeks ago, I ran a 12.90-something. I didn't know why things turned out this way. I wanted to hang on. But I couldn't. It was unbearable. If I had finished the race, I would have risked my tendon. I could not describe my feeling at that moment," Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.
Liu though vowed to make a comeback and said he is a man who never easily quits.
"I am not that type of person. I never quit easily. I believe I will come back," Liu said as the Chinese media gave front-page coverage for the start athlete. Many of his fans present at the stadium were seen sobbing at the sight of a limping Liu.
Chinese athletics head coach Feng Shuyong said: "Liu was depressed."
"He was very sad about this result. If his injury hadn't been so serious, he would never, ever have quit the race," Feng told reporters in Beijing.