Hun­gry Mer­ritt de­vours gold

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By REUTERS in Moscow

LaShawn Mer­ritt of the US sat­is­fied his hunger for suc­cess on Tues­day by re­gain­ing the 400m ti­tle at the world cham­pi­onships while de­fend­ing champ Ki­rani James of Gre­nada faded badly to fin­ish sev­enth.

Mer­ritt took the race from the gun and went hard over the first 200. He still had plenty left in the tank com­ing into the home stretch to seal vic­tory in a world-lead­ing 43.74 sec­onds.

Com­pa­triot Tony McQuay (44.40) made it a 1-2 for the US, which has now won all but four of the men’s world ti­tles in the event.

Luguelin San­tos of the Do­mini­can Repub­lic edged out Bel­gium’s Jonathan Bor­lee for bronze in 44.52.

“I’ve said it many times al­ready: I was hun­gry ... prob­a­bly the hun­gri­est per­son in the field,” Mer­ritt said.

“Not only was I starv­ing for a great per­for­mance, I was also starv­ing like I didn’t eat a lot to­day, so I was re­ally starv­ing.

“I wanted to go out and put a great race to­gether, I was ready men­tally and phys­i­cally to put a 43 to­gether, and that’s what I did.”

Mer­ritt, the 2009 cham­pion, held a slight lead as he and James came off the fi­nal bend with arms pump­ing high, but the Amer­i­can seemed to have end­less re­serves of en­ergy while James went back­wards through the field.

“It was poor ex­e­cu­tion on my end; I need to go back to the draw­ing board and think again,” James told the BBC.

“I didn’t come to the world cham­pi­onships ex­pect­ing this. I just need to move on.”

Mer­ritt re­turned from a 21-month dop­ing sus­pen­sion in 2011 af­ter a pos­i­tive test for us­ing an over-the-counter male en­hance­ment prod­uct that con­tained a banned sub­stance.

He then lost his world ti­tle to teenage up­start James, whose vic­tory prompted mas­sive street cel­e­bra­tions in his home coun­try.

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