Liu Xiang sent an ominous warning to his main London Olympic rival when a wind gust denied him a share of the 110 metres hurdles world record at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting on Saturday.
The 2004 Athens Olympic gold medallist stormed home in 12.87 seconds in an eye-popping run that matched Cuban Dayron Robles' mark, set in 2008.
But his performance did not count as a joint record because he was assisted by winds measuring 2.4 metres per second, just above the allowable limit of 2.0.
Robles had been scheduled to run in the same race, but missed the meeting because of visa problems, and Liu said he was not getting carried away with his time.
"Of course I am happy but it is just a race for me. I need to look forward," Liu said.
"I think my start was good, but I think I made some mistakes from the third to the sixth hurdles. Maybe the wind pushed me so much."
The time came hot on the heels of his season-leading run of 12.97 in May, his fastest non winded assisted performance in five years.
Liu's fastest official time remains 12.88, set in 2006, and which stood as the world record for two years.
US world indoor champion Aries Merritt finished second on Saturday in 12.96 with world outdoor champion Jason Richardson third in 13.11.
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