Xiang gets better of Robles as rivalry resumes

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By ROB HARRIS, Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Liu Xiang beat Dayron Robles in a resumption of their hurdling rivalry before the London Olympics, and Lerone Clarke upstaged Jamaican rival Asafa Powell in the 60-meter sprint at the Birmingham Grand Prix on Saturday.

Xiang ran the 60 hurdles in 7.41 seconds, a Chinese record. He was almost a tenth of a second ahead of Robles in their first meeting since last year's world championships.

"I still feel though that over the first two hurdles I didn't do very well and that there is work to be done there," Xiang said. "I am excited about the rest of the year now."

In South Korea in August, Robles finished first over 110 meters but was disqualified for impeding Xiang, who ended up winning a silver medal after being on course for gold. Now they are gearing up for the Olympic showdown that was denied in 2008 when Xiang limped off the starting line in Beijing and Robles took his Olympic title.

"The main task is to keep healthy and try to get in step before the Olympics," Xiang said.

Jamaica will be based in Birmingham before the Olympics, and Clarke led a Jamaican 1-2-3 sweep in the central English city by winning in 6.47 seconds.

"I knew that all I had to do was get out of the blocks and drive hard," Clarke said. "Get up and run home and it didn't matter who was out front, just focus on me."

Powell finished third in his return to indoor competition after an eight-year absence. Nesta Carter was second.

"Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, they're all fast guys and to come here and win," Clarke said. "It's fantastic. I've never been to an Olympics so it would be a great addition to my career if I can do that now."

The home crowd was disappointed when world 5,000-meter champion Mo Farah was beaten over 2 miles by Eliud Kipchoge, finishing 0.68 seconds behind the Kenyan in second place.

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