Daily Archives: July 5, 2017

Star hurdler Liu set to miss World Championships

One time Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang is unlikely to compete at this year’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing.The 2004 Athens Games 110-meter hurdles gold medalist withdrew from both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games, due to injuries and hasn’t returned to the track for two-and-a-half years.Liu, 31, who has endured a long recovery from a right Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him from racing in London, appeared at a 200-day countdown ceremony for the Beijing Worlds at the Bird’s Nest on Tuesday as one of seven athlete ambassadors for the event.Asked whether he could still make it to race at the Worlds, he said: “I think the possibility is pretty slim. I might be able to take part in the event in another role (not as an athlete)”.His remarks came two days after Wang Dawei, deputy director of the State Administrative Center of Track and Field, said at the 2014 CCTV Sports Personality awards ceremony that Liu “is still training in hopes of competing at the Worlds”.Even though Liu has physically recovered sufficiently to return to the training track current results (in trial races) haven’t been up to the qualification mark for the World Championships, Wang said.”A lot of young athletes have emerged as high-level contenders in the world. Some have already been able to reach the top eight or win medals in their respective events. I hope the public could pay more attention to them and the coming championships,” said Liu, who won gold in the 110m hurdles at the 2007 Worlds in Osaka, Japan.Others named as event ambassadors include Olympic race walking gold medalist Chen Ding, men’s sprinter Zhang Peimeng and national long jump record holder Li Jinzhe.The World Championships take place at the Bird’s Nest from August 22 to 30. The ticketing plan was released on Tuesday with the price for a whole day session ranging from 50 yuan ($7.9) to 1,000 yuan.

Tradition versus safety hazard

Six bullet trains on the Guangdong-Hainan section had to be cancelled because quite a few number of sky lanterns released by villagers were caught in the high voltage train cables. The lanterns were later untangled from the cables and normal services restored. Traditional rituals such as the one to release sky lanterns on special occasions or festivals are part of our culture, but people doing so should exercise caution so that their actions do not lead to accidents, says an article on gmw.cn. Excerpts:Sky lanterns are small hot air balloons made of paper. In Asia, as well as in some countries elsewhere, releasing sky lanterns is part of festivities. In China, during Lantern Festival at the end of Spring Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival and Ghost Festival, people release sky lanterns because they believe doing so brings good luck.But the suspension of train services on the Guangdong-Hainan section during Ghost Festival (which fell on Aug 10 this year) shows how such rituals can become a public safety hazard. Five years ago, 15 flights were delayed in Sanya, Hainan, because a large number of sky lanterns were seen flying toward the airport at a height of 1,000 meters.Although many provinces have banned sky lanterns, the tradition that is hundreds of years old cannot be eradicated through administrative orders. Chinese people still set off firecrackers during Spring Festival to usher in good luck in the new year even though the toxic smoke thus generated increases air pollution in the country.Perhaps a better way to deal with the problem is to educate people how to prevent the sky lanterns from becoming safety hazards. For instance, in a recent blockbuster, the protagonists are seen releasing sky lanterns near the sea. Or, people could tie one end of fire-proof strings to the sky lanterns and the other end to poles so that they don’t fly off and become safety hazards. Such precautions can enable people to enjoy traditional festivals without endangering other people’s lives.The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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