July 10, 2016 / 1:17 AM / in a year

Hurdler Merritt fails to make Olympic team

EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - World record holder and Olympic champion Aries Merritt failed to make the U.S. team for the Rio de Janeiro Games when he finished fourth in the 110 meters hurdles final at the United States trials on Saturday.

Jul 8, 2016; Eugene, OR, USA; Aries Merritt (left) and Issac Williams (right) compete during the men’s 1100m hurdles first round heats in the 2016 U.S. Olympic track and field team trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Merritt, who received a kidney transplant in September, needed to finish in the top three to qualify for Rio. He clocked 13.22 seconds, a hundredth of a second behind third place.

“I thought I had finished second or third,” said the 30-year-old, who was leading with two hurdles to go.

“When it came up fourth I was shocked.”

He asked for a re-read of the finish photo, but officials said there was no change in the results.

Collegian Devon Allen was the surprise winner in 13.03 seconds with Ronnie Ash and Jeff Porter taking the other two places, each clocking 13.21.

A torn groin five weeks ago had slowed Merritt’s progress this season, he said.

”This was only my fourth meet of the year,“ he added. ”To be where I am is a miracle.

“It’s a pity I am not going to the Games because I know in six weeks time I will be in much better shape.”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Eugene, Oregon; Editing by Andrew Both / Ian Ransom

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