Olympic champion Aries Merritt joins World Athletics Center


PHOENIX — World record holder and Olympic champion Aries Merritt is moving to Phoenix to join the World Athletics Center.

The American hurdler follows his coach Andreas Behm to Arizona, the 27 year-old track star will join a growing number of elite athletes who base themselves in Phoenix.

“Aries had a fantastic 2012 and despite a couple of injuries in 2013 he is hitting form at the right time,” said coach Behm.

“It’s important that his preparation and the environment in which he trains is first-rate. This is what the World Athletics Center offers athletes like Aries.”

‘The weather conditions, level of coaching and facilities in Phoenix are perfect for my coaching group to develop as athletes.’

Merritt recorded a world record time of 12.80 seconds at the Diamond League in Brussels in September 2012, adding to his World Indoor 60m hurdles title in the same year.

“It was an easy decision for me to follow Andreas (Behm) to the World Athletics Center,” Aries revealed.

“The weather is perfect all year round. The support team they have assembled in Phoenix is world-class, and it’s absolutely the best place for me to prepare for my competitions.”

In 2004, Aries broke onto the scene when he won the World Junior Championships in Grosseto, Italy.

“Aries is a tremendous athlete. We are pleased he has chosen to come and train at the World Athletics Center in Phoenix,” said World Athletics Center founder John Godina.

“We have created a world-class environment for athletes of the calibre of Aries, and we are delighted to welcome him to our team.”

The World Athletics Center roster already includes Steve Hooker, Brad Walker & Steve Lewis, who all hold National records in the Pole Vault from their respective countries.

Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda, Chinese thrower Yanbo Yang and American 400m runner Frankie Wright also call Phoenix as their home training base.