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HAVANA - Cuban Olympic hurdles champion Dayron Robles hopes Chinese rival Liu Xiang recovers quickly from a foot injury so that the pair can soon face off again on the track.
"Liu is a good athlete, a good rival, and I hope he recuperates soon so both of us can do our best in the 110m hurdles," Robles, 21, said on Monday.
Liu is reportedly planning to travel to the United States for surgery on the Achilles tendon injury that forced his withdrawal from the Beijing Olympics.
Robles said Liu offered him encouragement after he was knocked out in qualifying for an indoor 60m hurdles race in March.
"He was the first one to come up to me to say he was sorry, that it was just something that happens in the sport sometimes, and to raise my spirits," Robles said.
"It was a gesture that I could never forget, especially not now with all his problems."
Robles broke the 110 meter hurdles world record in June, finishing in 12,87 seconds to beat Liu's mark. He also won gold in Beijing in 12,93.
Robles, who returned home for a brief vacation after the games but began training two weeks ago, will attempt to become the athlete with the most sub 13-second finishes in 110 hurdles at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
"I won't be thinking about the record because to achieve this will require many other things," Robles said. "I realise that by pushing yourself a lot in training, you can achieve great things." - Sapa-AP