By Anthony Foster in Puerto Rico
World Champion, LaShawn Merritt is ready for the Ponce Grand Prix on Saturday, May 23. The 2004 World Junior Champion, who said he is off to a slow start, will use the meet to build on his season.
“I want to go out and put a race together, execute a race and get the win,” he told TrackAlerts.Com.
“The season for me is going a little slow,” he said, while pointing out that he is working with a new coach and they are “working on some things.”
Merritt, who already lost twice this season, to main rival Kirani James of Grenada at the Drake Relays (24 April) and the Shanghai DL (15 May), has a season best of 44.80.
He has already qualified for the Beijing World Championships as the defending champion, and according to him, “there couldn’t have been a better year for the bye.”
“Yes, for sure, I had a long season last year, it was an off year, no World Championships, so I ran a lot of races, this year I can take it a little slow, I only have to peak one time for World Champs, I don’t have to worry about the pressure of Nationals, so that’s the greatest thing,” he said.
Asked if he is comfortable at this stage of the season, with 44.8o, Merritt replied, … ”I am comfortable, I haven’t been training that long, … I had an injury earlier in the year so using some of these early meets as training —44.8 — I can’t complain about that, come August it will be a lot lower than that.”
“I have a new coach and (we are) taking it slow, still learning, still confident as ever, still learning my event,” he said. “I am just ready to have a good season,” he ended.