MOSCOW, Russia – Aries Merritt ran 13.31 in placing sixth in the final of the 110 hurdles during the third day of the IAAF World Championships. Wayne Davis II and Deon Lendore, each representing Trinidad & Tobago, competed in the semifinals of their respective events on Monday, but neither advanced to the finals at Luzhniki Stadium.
Lendore finished fourth in his semifinal heat of the 400 with a time of 45.47, which placed him 12th among the semifinal field of 24. The two automatic qualifying positions for the final that were available in the heat Lendore contested were taken by LaShawn Merritt (44.60) and Belgium’s Jonathan Borlee (44.85) while Chris Brown of Bahamas (45.18) finished third, but didn’t advance on time.
Four Americans advanced to the 110 hurdle final as David Oliver (13.00) and Ryan Wilson (13.13) provided the U.S. a 1-2 finish. Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov (13.24) secured third place ahead of 2011 World Champion Jason Richardson (13.27).
An Olympic gold medalist in 2012, Merritt finished sixth behind Great Britain’s William Sharman (13.30).
“Obviously in a hurdle race, if you hit hurdles you don’t win,” said Merritt, a volunteer assistant at Texas A&M. “Last year was the perfect year. I didn't hit any hurdles, I was flawless. This time I made mistakes and I’m not the champion.
“That’s pretty much how it boils down. I’m not really disappointed. I’m happy that I could walk away from that race injury-free.”
In the second semifinal of the 110 hurdles Davis ran 13.47 (-0.3 wind) to place sixth. Shubenkov claimed the race in 13.17 with Oliver second in 13.18 while Wilson claimed the third automatic spot with a 13.20. Time qualifiers from the second semi went to Andrew Riley of Jamaica (13.30), the 2012 NCAA Champion from Illinois, and Sharman (13.34).
An uncanny start to the first 110 hurdle semifinal had Merritt leaving the blocks later than the rest of the field. He finished third in 13.44 to secure an automatic qualification to the final behind Richardson (13.34) and Thomas Martinot-LaGarde of France (13.39). Another hurdler from Trinidad, Mikel Thomas, placed fourth in 13.46 and did not advance.
“Obviously, the semifinal was a huge scare,” noted Merritt. “I had to expend so much energy, because I literally thought someone false started. So I sat in the blocks thinking they were going to shoot the gun twice. I expended way too much energy in the semifinal to run myself into the final. The guys who got it done here deserve all the credit and the utmost respect.”The next Aggie in action at the World Championships will be Australian Fabrice Lapierre with the men’s long jump qualification on Wednesday, which takes place at 10:25 a.m. in Moscow (1:25 a.m. in Texas).