The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Next hurdle’s a kidney transplant

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RUSSIAN Sergey Shubenkov stormed to the 110m hurdles world title to shatter Olympic champion Aries Merritt’s hopes of gold, days before he undergoes a kidney transplant.

Shubenkov, the two-time European champion, clocked a national record of 12.98 seconds, with American Merritt (pictured), who will leave for his surgery directly from Beijing, taking the bronze in a season’s best 13.04.

Jamaican Hansle Parchment finished in 13.03 to pip Merritt for silver, but Merritt said reaching the world titles podium ranked higher than winning the Olympic title.

“This bronze medal means more to me than my Olympic gold,” the 30-year-old said.

“In 2013 when they told me I’d never run again that pretty much ended my life. It mentally destroyed me.

“If I was a normal human being we might have seen a record. But the reality is ... I’m under 20 per cent kidney function so it’s very tough.”

Merritt, who ended 2012 with an Olympic title before being diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, insisted he would try to try to return for next year’s Rio Olympics.

“The trip home is definitely going to be a little depressing because I’m going to have surgery, not to hang out with my friends,” he said.

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