Carrying a New Kidney, an American Hurdler Returns to Worlds

Aries Merritt will return to the world track and field championships — this time, with a working kidney.

Foto: Associated Press

 

Merritt finished second, behind Aleec Harris, in the 110-meter hurdles on Sunday at the United States track and field championships, which double as a qualifying event for worlds.

When Merritt, the world-record holder in the event, took third at the 2015 world championships in Beijing, his kidneys were barely functioning because of a genetic disorder. He received a transplant from his sister, LaToya, less than a week later. Now healthy, he is ready to see what he can do at worlds, which will be held in August at the venue where he won an Olympic gold medal during the 2012 London Games.

“I always felt once I was healthy, all it would take is for me to put in the work,” Merritt said. “That’s something I’ve been lacking. I haven’t been able to put in the work in two years.”

Merritt, 31, said he knew he would make a strong return, although he encountered many skeptics.

“I was told, ‘You’ll never come back to the sport with the medications you have to take that are lifelong,’” Merritt said. “It was something that went in one ear and out the other.”

 The crowd erupted Sunday when Ryan Crouser’s final heave in the shot-put surpassed Joe Kovacs’s best to give Crouser the win. Crouser’s distance of 22.65 meters (74 feet, 3 ¾ inches) edged a 22.35-meter throw by Kovacs, who already had an automatic bye into worlds as the defending world champion.
 “It’s a confidence boost, showing I can come through on the last throw,” Crouser said.

The reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 400 hurdles, Dalilah Muhammad, won in a race in which the top three finishers all finished in under 53 seconds.

“That’s so amazing,” said Muhammad, who finished in 52.64 seconds.

Just as he did in the men’s 100 meters, Christian Coleman took an early lead in the 200. And just as in the 100, he was caught at the last moment. Coleman was outleaned at the finish by Ameer Webb, who finished in 20.09 seconds to win by one-hundredth of a second. Elijah Hall-Thompson, who is coached at the University of Houston by Carl Lewis, was third.

“Racing at this high level you can never think you have it,” Coleman said. “He got me today.”

In the women’s 200, the Oregon standout Deajah Stevens won from the outside lane, finishing in 22.30 seconds and edging Kimberlyn Duncan and Tori Bowie.

 “The 200 is my baby — I love this race,” Stevens said. “It felt really good to go out there and execute the way I know I could.”

 

Publicerad i NY Times

Text: Associated Press

 

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