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.
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The fact of the matter is Kendra ran at the US trails and didn’t qualify for Rio. Really doesn’t matter that she did a spectacular run in the diamond league, your national trails is what gets you to the Olympics.
Merritt definitely misunderstand the Jamaican rule, lol. No way would Kendra Harrison would be running at Rio if she came fourth at trials. Unless someone got injured or decides to give up her spot. Anyway Merritt such is life.
Merrit Don’t wish jamaican selection..what if you were position 3 and left behind? Every 1 wishes to run Olympics. Top 3 if u had bad day try nxt time
Brutal is not always good..and although the Jamaican system is similar..we have some leniency..as on the day an athlete can have a bad day..
Well said, Nicki. The writer should have corrected Merritt.
Merritt obviously don’t understand the “Jamaican system” our world champion Danielle Williams who has won alot of races over the 100mh this season and who was unanimously pick to win the Jamaican Trails had a bad day at trails when she hit the hurdles and didn’t finish the race.She is not going to Rio. If he is referring to Usain Bolt and the others who was medically exempt he needs to be reminded that they either didn’t run on the day r didn’t run in the finals. Shelly Ann Fraser Price also ask for medical exemption and she is not entered for the 200m as she haven’t ran any 200m races for the season.