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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 08/08/2012, 00.00


    Liu Xiang's star falls in London as debates rage in China

    Wang Zhicheng

    Liu fell on the first hurdle. This is the second failure after that in Beijing. Xinhua praises the athlete as a "national hero," but in China's blogosphere, people say the trainer concealed the champion's real physical conditions. Liu was an icon in the regime's propaganda machine.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - Chinese fans were stunned by Liu Xiang's fall in the 110 metre hurdles heat yesterday. In Beijing, Liu had also fallen in the opening heat, but he had won gold in Athens in 2004.

    The Xinhua news agency, which called the incident a "tragedy," described Liu as a "national hero and sports icon in China." However, amid the declarations of solidarity, comments posted on blogs and other online sites were also critical, some voicing suspicions.

    Liu Xiang, 29, appeared to have recovered from problems to the heel that dating back to May 2008 before the Beijing Olympics. In the months leading up to that event, sponsors had used Liu to push for all sorts of products, with Liu literally wrapped in the flag visible everywhere.

    As he crashed into the first hurdle after leaving the starting block, "aware that 1.3 billion pairs of eyes would be on him again," as he put it, history repeated itself.

    When He got up, he hopped on his left foot to the final hurdle and kissed it, before getting on a wheelchair to be wheeled away by medical staff.

    Back at home, people cannot understand why he would run, knowing that his right Achilles' tendon was not fully healed.

    Online, some wondered why Liu did not do warm-ups like other athletes. Others believe he kept everything hushed up to save his publicity contracts.

    Feng Sheyong, the leader of China's athletics team, praised Liu. "He got up and finished" the race, Feng said. "It shows that it's not all about winning, but showing the Olympic spirit to the world.

    A CCTV reporter in London said propaganda authorities issued gag orders. "An instruction was circulated among our colleagues on Monday, saying it should be considered a victory as long as Liu showed up at the starting line."

    On some blogs, people had already noted that Liu was not at his best and were expecting him to fail. Others wondered why his trainer kept the truth about the recordman's problems.

    China's attitude towards sport has also been criticised, especially its focus on winning gold medals without promoting sports at all levels.

    "In a country where only a few primary and middle schools have sports fields or physical exercises, it is ridiculous to count on Liu to save our face," said Huang Jianxiang, a sports commentator, on Sina Weibo. "Liu's past glory used to be a shield to justifying the juguo tizhi [whole nation system], but the failure has rendered it useless today."

    In London, many of Liu's fellow athletes came out in favour of his presence. "It must be hard for that to happen for the second time in a row. He's a great athlete," said Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, adding that Liu Xiang is a "true champion".

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    See also

    30/07/2012 GREAT BRITAIN - ASIA
    London 2012, China already tops medals table
    After two days of competition, the children of the Dragon have won six golds, four silvers and two bronzes for a total of 12 medals. Followed by the U.S. and Italy. The shooter Yi Siling won the first medal to be won in the 30th edition, in the 10 meters air rifle competition. Beijing continues to dominate in diving.

    25/07/2012 CHINA - GREAT BRITAIN
    London 2012: Olympic merchandise made by overexploiting Chinese workers
    A Hong Kong-based group releases findings of interviews with dozens of workers. Daily wages are less than US$ 10, but working hours are three times the legal limit. Working conditions are poor and security is nil. Workers lose half a day's wages if they are 5 minutes late. Group appeals to the IOC for a code of conduct for companies involved in the Olympic Games.

    13/08/2012 GREAT BRITAIN - ASIA
    London 2012: US overtakes China as top medal winner
    The 30th Olympiad is history. The official handover was made to Rio de Janeiro, host city of the 2016 Games. After its triumph in 2008, China takes second place, as Chinese media complain about unfair treatment. Amid competitions and records, faith (Bolt and Farah) wins over British relativism.

    18/01/2008 CHINA – GREAT BRITAIN
    London seeks new investments from Beijing
    Premier Brown aims to increase China-Britain trade by 30%. Pressure on human rights and issues of world politics.

    01/08/2012 GREAT BRITAIN - ASIA
    London 2012, eight Asian Badminton players under investigation for "lack of commitment"
    The female athletes whistled by audience and reprimanded by referee, are now under investigation by the Federation. They come from South Korea (two couples), China and Indonesia. The 16 year old Ye Shiwen of China also wins 200 medley; wrath of bloggers for the "shameful" allegations of doping against her. The American Phelps becomes a legend, with the 19th Olympic medal.

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