The Shanghai Golden Grand Prix should still be a great success despite a weakened field, say the organisers. Heading the field announced yesterday is superstar hurdler Liu Xiang, backed by elite athletes in Americans Shawn Crawford (100 metres), Jeremy Wariner (400m) and Lauryn Williams (100m) and France's Christine Arron (100m). The meeting does not measure up to last year's showpiece when Justin Gatlin - then a world-beating 100m speedster and now an embattled doping suspect - pole-vaulting queen Yelena Isinbayeva and long-distance maestro Kenenisa Bekele gave an estimated 50,000 crowd at Shanghai Stadium plenty to cheer about. Mary Gu, the general manager of Shanghai Golden Grand Prix Ltd, was nonetheless upbeat about this year's event and said Liu was sure to pull in the fans. 'Yelena can't make it because of a schedule conflict and, in Justin's case, he was one of our initial targets, but we have been shocked at what happened to him .' Gatlin is still under investigation by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after testing positive for performance-enhancing testosterone in April. 'However, the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix doesn't cease to be a premium tournament because of the absence of a few stars,' said Gu, whose meeting features 14 events. 'In fact, to this point, 70 per cent of the tickets to the tourney have been snapped up.' Most of the ticket buyers have undoubtedly been attracted by home favourite Liu, who will defend his title against an American trio of Allen Johnson, Dominique Arnold and Terrence Trammell. France's reigning world champion, Ladji Doucoure, however, is skipping the meeting for the second year in a row because of a nagging leg injury. Liu has seen his popularity soar since he bettered the 110m hurdles world mark of 12.91 seconds, which he held jointly with Briton Colin Jackson, to 12.88 last month in Lausanne, Switzerland.