Merritt returns with a working kidney

July 25, 2017

SACRAMENTO, California (AP):

Aries Merritt will be making a return to the World Championships. This time, with a working kidney.

The world-record holder Merritt finished second behind Aleec Harris in last month's 110-metre hurdles at the US track and field championships. His place as long as it was top three didn't really matter. He just wanted a spot at the World Championships, to be held in London in August.

Merritt won bronze at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing with his kidneys barely functioning because of a genetic disorder. He received the transplant from his sister less than a week later. Now healthy, he's ready to see what he can do with worlds being held at the venue where he won an Olympic gold medal during the 2012 London Games.

"I always felt once I was healthy, all it would take is for me to put in the work," Merritt explained. "That's something I've been lacking. I haven't been able to put in the work in two years."

Harris proved uncatchable as he finished in 13.24 seconds. Merritt was 0.07 seconds behind, and former University of Oregon football player Devon Allen took third.

The 31-year-old Merritt knew he would be able to make a strong return to the hurdles even if others didn't buy in.

"I was told, 'You'll never come back to the sport with the medications you have to take that are lifelong,'" said Merritt, whose mom and sister were in the stands. "It was something that went in one ear and out the other.

"No matter what someone may tell you, whether it's a doctor or not, you can't give up hope. You always have to stay positive and look at the brighter picture."

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