MONACO (Sporting Alert) — American LaShawn Merritt had an injury scare in his final race before defending his Olympic title in London later this summer.
Merritt, the world-leader and the man picked by the pundits to repeat as the Olympic Games 400m gold medallist, was forced to pull out of the quarter-mile race at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco, halfway through the contest after feeling some discomfort.
“At 250 metres, as I started to move my leg up, I felt a little bit of discomfort,” said Merritt, who is confident he’ll be OK for the Games.
“The aim of the season is the Olympic Games, so I decided to stop. I’d hoped to do a good time here but I’ll continue working to be ready for London.”
World champion Kirani James, in the meantime, was beaten in the race won by Jonathan Borlee of Belgium in a season’s best of 44.74 – edging James, who finished in 44.76. Jonathan’s brother Kevin was third in 44.94.
The women’s 100m went to Nigerian speedster Blessing Okagbare, who impressed with a new personal best of 10.96. She defeated Americans Tianna Madison (10.99) and Jeneba Tarmoh (11.09) with Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart (11.11) taking fourth.
In the field, Columbia’s Caterine Ibargüen leaped 14.85m to beat Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams (14.50m) to take the women’s Triple Jump.