Liu Xiang (L) of China and Dayron Robles of Cuba fighting for the first place during the men's 110 metres hurdles final (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Birmingham, UK

Dayron Robles and Liu Xiang set for Birmingham battle

Reigning Olympic 110m Hurdles champion and World Record holder Dayron Robles will go head-to-head with former World and Olympic 110m Hurdles champion and reigning World Indoor 60m Hurdles titleholder Liu Xiang in a blockbuster 60m Hurdles battle at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham on 18 February.

The Aviva Grand Prix is an IAAF Indoor Permit meeting.

It will be the first time the pair have faced each other since the World Championships in Daegu last summer, where Liu Xiang took silver after Robles was dramatically disqualified, despite finishing the race in first place.

The pair, who between them have amassed a staggering 11 major championship medals and are considered the two all-time greats of sprint hurdles, join an all-star cast including Asafa Powell, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah set to compete in what is destined to be a colossal afternoon at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena (NIA).

Liu Xiang’s inclusion means it will be a first return to the NIA for the former World champion since taking World Indoor bronze back in 2003 as a fresh-faced 19-year-old.

Twenty-five-year-old Robles, who set the current World record of 12.87secs in Ostrava back in 2008, currently trails Liu Xiang 7-5 in contests, but the Cuban is determined to level these scores by the end of March, first in Birmingham and then next month in Istanbul, where he hopes to usurp the Chinese athlete as the indoor champion of the world.

Robles said: “I feel in really good shape – I’m haven’t competed this year yet so I’m looking forward to getting back on the track to compete. I will have probably had one race before the Aviva Grand Prix which will give me more of an idea on my form but Birmingham is due to have a good field so it’ll be good for me."

“This year is clearly important for me, I’m doing everything I can both in and out of competition to make sure that I’m competing at my best. I’m planning to run at the World Indoor Championships – and of course I want to hold on to the Olympic title  - we’ll need to see what the other guys bring to the race."

“The Aviva Grand Prix is great preparation for the World’s – there will be a similar field so it’ll be a good race for me to set a marker on.”

Organisers for the IAAF