Businessman wants to sue hurdler Liu for car accident

Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:34am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - A Chinese businessman wants to sue Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang because he was injured while driving a luxury car endorsed by the world champion.

Yuan Jiguang told Jiangxi Province's New Legal Report newspaper that he had bought the car because of an advert featuring former Olympic champion Liu, and so he held the high hurdler responsible for the accident.

The 43-year-old said he had been involved in a collision with a truck, banging his nose on the windshield when the car's air bags failed to activate and ending up with a doctor's bill of 989.89 yuan ($144.8).

"Liu's advert had a great influence on my choice of car," he told the paper. "I want to send a warning message to all the celebrities that they can not only focus on the payment and neglect their social responsibility and public trust."

Liu picked up a string of lucrative endorsements after becoming China's first male track gold medalist in the 110 meters hurdles at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

His stock has fallen somewhat since injury prevented him from starting his opening heat at last August's Beijing Games, where he was the host nation's only hope of an athletics title.

The 25-year-old dropped from second to fifth on the latest Forbes China list, which uses income and exposure to come up with an index of media appeal.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney and Liu Zhen, editing by Miral Fahmy)