MIAMI, FL – Men’s 110m hurdles world record holder Aries Merritt says the Jamaican selection system would have been perfect for Kendra Harrison.
Merritt was speaking after watching his teammate smashed the women’s 100m hurdles world record at the Anniversary Games – IAAF Diamond League meeting – in London, last Friday evening.
Harrison, who owns six of the top seven times in the world this season, had a very bad day at the U.S. Trials earlier this month and failed to make her country’s Olympic team, after finishing outside the top three in the sprint hurdles.
The American trials, which is regarded as one of the most highly contested national championships in the world, is formatted to select the best athletes on that day, with no protection for inform athletes.
London 2012 Olympic champion Merritt, who also failed to make the U.S. team, admits that his country’s selection process is “brutal” and wished their system was similar to the one Jamaica uses to protect its best athletes.
“It’s sad that our whole entire system is base off of one performance,” Merritt said in an interview after watching Harrison smashed a 28-year-old world record when she clocked 12.20 to win in London.
“She has been running very fast all year. Very fast,” he added.
“I wish our selection process was similar to Jamaica’s.
“If you’re showing top three fitness in the world and you have a bad day, it’s not the end of you, you can still go and represent.
“It’s unfortunate, but our system is brutal and that’s just the way it is.”
Merritt, who holds the men’s 110m hurdles world record with a time of 12.80 secs, which was set in 2012, revealed that he became emotional when his countrywoman took down the long standing world mark.
“I was really emotional when I saw her break the world record,” he said. “It was amazing.
“For her not to be on the team is tragic.”
Several of Jamaica’s top athletes, including Usain Bolt, Janieve Russell, Hansle Parchment and Elaine Thompson are benefiting from the way the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) build-in process to send the country’s best athletes to represent the country.
Bolt was forced to withdrew from the JAAA Trials after the 100m semi-finals, but a medical exemption allowed the six-time Olympic champion and world record holder to prove his fitness and earned his selection to Rio.