Beijing: China's greatest track and field athlete Liu Xiang announced his retirement yesterday, with the injury-plagued Athens 2004 gold medal winner saying he had "no choice" but to end his trail-blazing career.
"From today, I will end my life as a professional athlete and retire formally," the 110m hurdles star said in an online post. "This is a decision made after long deliberation. I'm deeply reluctant and feel pained, but have no choice," he added on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter.
The 31-year-old's retirement is likely to spark an outpouring of emotion from Chinese fans, despite the news being widely expected, particularly since reports last week that an announcement was imminent.
Following China's first men's track and field gold in Athens, Liu limped out of the first heat at Beijing 2008 and clattered into the first hurdle in the London 2012 heats, before symbolically kissing the last barrier and exiting the Olympic arena.