DAEGU, South Korea – Olympic champion Dayron Robles was disqualified for interfering with Chinese star Liu Xiang in the 110-meter hurdles Monday, giving runner-up Jason Richardson of the United States the victory in one of the most anticipated races at the world championships.
In a race almost as controversial as the 100 final disqualification of Usain Bolt a day earlier, Robles crossed the line first, but Liu appealed after the Cuban tangled with him over the two last hurdles, which dropped Liu into third place.
The track referee disqualified Robles for “obstruction.”
An appeal by the Cubans was denied. The American benefited when Liu slowed down after contact was made with Robles, and finished second.
“When I approached the ninth hurdle, Robles pulled me. It made me slow down,” said Liu, who was moved up to second. “At first, I thought I would be the champion or at least second. But Robles pulled me.”
Liu said he did not believe the interference was intentional.
“I am really sorry about the situation. You know competition,” Liu said. “Besides, we are good friends.”
Instead, it was Richardson who ran away with this year’s biggest prize.
“Whatever reward I get from doing my best, I will accept. If it’s gold, silver or bronze, it doesn’t matter,” Richardson said. “It’s bittersweet. You never want to see someone as talented as Robles disqualified.”
Robles finished in 13.14 seconds, followed by Richardson in 13.16 and Liu in 13.27.
• Former Washington State Cougar Jeshua Anderson won his preliminary heat in the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 48.81. Anderson advances to today’s semifinals race.