Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
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ARIES MERRITT (July 2012)

ARIES MERRITT (Born Marietta, Georgia on the 24th of July 1985) really came into being one of the World's best high hurdlers in 2012, with his win in the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul over 60m and, running the fastest ever time done in the United Kingdom for 110 hurdles outdoors, only a few weeks before his Olympic debut in London.
   In the World Championships outdoors in the Summer of 2011 in Daegu he finished fourth equal with William Sharman of UK in 13.67 and, if Robles had not been disqualified he would have been joint fifth.
   He told me about his life in athletics in a Croydon Hotel, the day after his win at Crystal Palace on the 14th of July 2012. " I started running back when I was about six. My sister ran track in High School and I almost followed her....My Mum used to love to run for fun but she never ran professionally or anything. She just ran for fun and I started running for fun, racing the kids on the streets in the neighbourhood in Atlanta.'
' I actually taught myself how to hurdle when I was in High School. I started off terrible doing 17.5 and then I dropped down to 15.5 that year. Next year 14.5, then 14.00. In the senior year I ran 13.7 at Wheeler High School Marietta Georgia.'
   'At College at Tennessee University they recruited  me to run the 400 hurdles ran 50--' but it was not that great. I ended up switching to the 110's. My coach Vince Anderson taught me an approach to the first hurdle because I did  not have an approach to that first hurdle, it was horrible!  He said ' OK we are going to fix this' and I began racing well and became the World Junior Champion (2004). I defeated Robles when I was a junior.(2004).'(Merritt 13.56; Dayron Robles (Cuba, the Olympic Champion in China)-13.77; 3 Kevin Craddock (USA) 13.77-In Italy July 2004)
    ATFS Annual 2012, Edited by Peter Mathews, for  Merritt the following marks were given--A best of 51.4 for his 400 hurdles
--110 hurdles:- 2004-13.47; 2005 13.38; /13.34 Wind; 2006 13.12; 2007 13.09; 2008 13.24; 2006 13.15; 2010 13.61 and 2011 13.12.
  "After the World Juniors' my coach that trained me left me and  moved to a different programme. I was disappointed when he left me. He went to coach the women so, I did have difficulty and did not work with him as a sophomore or junior BUT I made it work. I did not have the progression as rapid as I wanted but now I am finally coming into form."

SPECIAL RACES
" The Olympic Trials " Those were special because a lot of emotion that goes into the American Olympic trials. Everyone wants to make that team and fulfil that dream of being on the Olympic team. The pressure of making the US team, the competition to make it is cutthroat and so deadly. If you make a mistake you don't make it!'
(June 30th Eugene Oregon the three  in the Final of the 8 finalists were Arie Merritt 12.93 (PB); Jason Richardson 12.98; Jeffrey Porter 13.08; --The surprise was that David Oliver ran 13.17 and came fifth and did not make it, after being the fastest in the World in 2011 with 12.94)
 " The race in Istanbul was special when I won the World Indoor Championships" (In March) 60m 1 Merritt 7.44, 2 LIU Xiang (China) 7.49; 3 Pascal Martinot-Legard (France) 7.53 and 4 Andrew Pozzi (GB) 7.58)
   " Obviously the meet at Crystal Palace was special. I got off the plane and ran 12.93--That was the fastest time ever run on this soil ( In the UK) Most impressive and, I never knew that till the next day. I am excited about that too."
(1 Aries Merritt (USA) 12.93; 2 Jason Richardson (USA) 13.06; 3 Ryan Wilson (USA) 13.18.)

Alastair Aitken

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