May 15 - A victory for the city's favourite son, Liu Xiang, brought the Dunlop Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, the second of this year's Samsung Diamond League series, to a tumultuous conclusion here in front of a crowd of 30,000.
The former world and Olympic 110 metres hurdles champion lived up to all the local expectations – and apparently exceeded his own – in putting an end to the unbeaten outdoor sequence of 18 finals races established by one of the other marquee names of this meeting, David Oliver.
And Liu's time of 13.07sec became the eighth world-leading performance of the night.
Liu's new starting technique – taking seven rather than eight steps to the first hurdle – appeared to work perfectly as he took hold of the race and never let go, unleashing pandemonium as he crossed the line with his face breaking into a smile that was at least partly of relief.
His United States opponent, who was last beaten outdoors on August 31, 2009, was not so sharp at the start and never established the expected challenge to his Chinese opponent, taking second place in 13.18.
"It felt great," said Liu, who had commented beforehand that he was "not expecting to overtake" his US opponent.
"This is my first outdoor race of the season.
"I reacted the fastest from the blocks and my seven-steps start worked very well for me.
"I am very, very satisfied with the time, I wasn't quite expecting it.
"But I do not think Oliver ran his best, I think he looked a little bit nervous.
"He was not very relaxed."
Oliver, clearly dejected, put up a sporting front at the post-race press conference.
"My start was not very good," he said.
"I wish I had the answer as to why I underperformed tonight.
"I will just have to go away and train harder and be ready for my next major competition."
Liu's was the fifth clear world-leading performance of the night, the others coming from Jamaica's Kaliese Spencer in the 400m hurdles (54.20sec) and a trio of Kenyans, Brimin Kipruto in the 3000m steeplechase (8min 02.28sec), Nixon Chepseba in the 1500m (3min 31.42sec) and Vivian Cheruyiot in the 5000m (14min 31.92sec).
And there were performances equalling the world-leading mark from Finland's Tero Pitkamaki in the Javelin (85.33m), Australian Mitchell Watt in the long jump (8.44) and Croatia's Blanka Vlasic in the high jump (1.94m).
Jamaica's Asafa Powell was not among the world leaders, but performed well following his disappointing run over 200m at the Kingston meeting, winning in 9.95.
Jenny Meadows of Britain won the 800 metres with a strong display of front running, taking over the lead as the pacemaker dropped out after 600m and extending it to five metres at the line as she crossed in 2min 00.54sec.
Malika Akkaoui of Morocco was second in 2:01.45, with Poland's Angelika Cichocka third in 2:01.75.
Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen experienced the highs and lows of sport in the javelin, taking the lead with a season's best of 85.12 metres, only to see his perennial rival Pitkamaki better it with the next throw of 85.33, and then having to limp out of the competition after staggering to a pained halt with a thigh problem as he prepared to release his fifth attempt of the night.
Powell had hinted that he might produce something super-fast in the 100m.
As it happened, it was only fast, but a time of 9.95sec was more than enough for him to get the job done.
"My coach told me not to push it too hard," Powell said.
Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown celebrated her 29th birthday in ideal fashion as she won the 100m in 10.92, beating last year's Diamond Race winner, Carmelita Jeter of the United States, into second place in 10.95.
There was a major surprise in the men's 1500m as Kenya's Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop, who had warmed up for this race with victory in the opening Samsung Diamond League 800m race in Doha, was frustrated in his main event by the determination of countryamn Chepseba, who won in a world-leading time of 3:31.42, which was also a meeting record.
Watt produced an effort of 8.44m to win the long jump, equalling his own world-leading mark and setting a meeting record.
"I need to win a medal [at the World Championships] in Daegu [in August]," Watt said.
"8.50 is my goal this year.
"8.49 is the Australian record so that will be something special."
Vlasic, as expected, proved victorious in the women's high jump, seeing off all her rivals with a clearance of 1.94m which equalled the world-leading mark before making three failed attempts at 1.97.
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