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Liu turns it on ahead of Olympics

China's Liu Xiang put himself in pole position for the Olympic 110m hurdles Saturday as he beat the world outdoor and indoor champions with a season-leading 12.97sec at the Shanghai Diamond League meet.

other Updated: Jun 27, 2012 13:30 IST

China's Liu Xiang put himself in pole position for the Olympic 110m hurdles Saturday as he beat the world outdoor and indoor champions with a season-leading 12.97sec at the Shanghai Diamond League meet.

On a wet track, the Athens 2004 gold-medallist won it comfortably from America's David Oliver and world outdoor champion Jason Richardson, before ripping off his vest in an excited celebration in front of his home fans.

"I am extremely happy. It was a wonderful race, what everyone wanted to see," said Shanghai native Liu. "I hope to keep this form and give full play to my training. My dream is to stand on the Olympic track."

Oliver timed 13.13 and Richardson clocked 13.16, while world indoor champion Aries Merritt was fourth. But with just two months to go, Liu now looks like the man to beat in London.

Liu became China's first ever Olympic track champion at Athens 2004 but four years later, he caused national angst when he dramatically pulled out injured in front of a packed Bird's Nest Stadium at Beijing 2008.

At last year's world championships, Liu took silver behind Richardson in a highly contentious race after he was obstructed by Olympic title-holder Dayron Robles, who was later disqualified.

This year, Liu beat Robles over 60m in February and was runner-up to Merritt at the world indoor championships in March. And he was an easy winner earlier this month at a World Challenge meet in Japan.

Sudha cracks national record
Shanghai: Asian Games gold medalists Sudha Singh improved her own national mark to 9:49.25 seconds in the women 3,000m steeplechase in the Shanghai's Diamond League meet on Saturday.

On her way to the national record, the Indian runner narrowly missed the Olympic B standard mark of 9:48 secs. She finished 11th in the event eventually won by Kenya's Milcah Chemos in 9:15.81.

Olympic torch relay starts in britain
London: With the rolling Atlantic Ocean behind him, yachtsman Ben Ainslie set the London Olympic torch relay on the road from Land's End in the extreme south-west tip of England on Saturday.

The flame arrived on board a navy search and rescue helicopter after being flown to the nearby Culdrose naval station on a special flight from Athens on Friday evening.