Oliver avenges loss to Liu in hurdles
EUGENE, Oregon - David Oliver avenged his May loss to Liu Xiang and Steve Mullings delivered another stellar 100m performance Saturday at the Prefontaine Diamond League athletics meeting.
Oliver won the 110m hurdles in a blazing 12.94 seconds to edge Liu, China’s former world record-holder who had stopped the American’s 20-win streak at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting on May 15.
Oliver’s time was the fastest in the world in this World Championships season, improving on the 13.07 previously posted by both Liu and Cuban Dayron Robles.
Jamaica’s Mullings won the 100m in a sizzling 9.80 seconds.
In another explosive sprint performance, American Carmelita Jeter won the women’s 100m in a world-leading 10.70 seconds.
Mullings came into the meeting with a world leading 9.89, set at a low-key meeting in Clermont, Florida, last month.
Mullings admitted that he was exhausted after flying in from Europe just days before. “My body’s ripped up right now. I’m hurting,” Mullings said. “I’m hurting bad. I was a little bit jet-lagged. I expected to get in the 80s, but I didn’t expect to go 9.8. It was a great feeling.”
Liu, trying to regain his 110m hurdles dominance after an Achilles injury battle that scuppered his 2008 Beijing Olympics bid, led Oliver to the first hurdle by the barest of margins.
But the big American had powered past by the third hurdle en route to a blistering early season time in a race run with a wind of 1.8m/sec.
Liu was second at 13 seconds. The U.S.’s Aries Merritt was third in 13.18.
“I’m just happy for a good performance,” said Oliver, adding that he knew from the opening strides that he was in a good rhythm.
“I took care of business at the start - like I didn’t do in Shanghai.” Liu wasn’t happy with technical flaws at the end of his race but pronounced himself “very happy” with the time.
“I feel very good for the timing,” Liu said, but added: “Close to the finish my speed and power were not good.”