Aries Merritt at the pre-event press conference for the 2013 IAAF Diamond League meeing in Birmingham (Mark Shearman) © Copyright

Aries Merritt talks about his battle to book his ticket to Moscow – IAAF Online Diaries

“Hello from Birmingham, England.

“After my last race in 2012, I described the year as a dream season. Well, this year hasn't started exactly started out as a dream season but this past weekend was the first step back on the road to where I want to be… at the top.   

“I think I've said in earlier diary entries that I dealt with a cramp in one of my hamstrings during indoors and as a result decided to avoid racing until outdoors began. Unfortunately, that leg pain returned in warm-ups at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Shanghai, and prevented me from finishing the race; and was a little more serious this time.

“I wanted to be very slow and conservative in my return from this injury, but the calendar was working against me so I needed to rush my preparation for the US Championships. My doctor told me I needed to avoid doing any hurdling until the 14th of June.

“The first round of the US Champs were on the 22nd so I was on the shelf for almost a month, then had no choice but to do a crash course in hurdles… with the goal of not actually crashing into any hurdles!  

“Unless you finish among the top three at the US Champs, you don't go to Moscow. How's that for a challenge? So my coach and I planned those hurdle workouts very carefully so I could get a basic rhythm back, get a little bit of confidence but minimize my risk of re-injury.

"On the 14th we just did it and embarked on a week's worth of intense preparation heading into Des Moines.

“Well, it was kind of ugly over those last few hurdles but I got it done.

"I was great over the first five hurdles but after that I got a little off balance and had to just get to the finish line. I finished in third place. Normally, third would be a bit of a disappointment but I was simply happy and relieved to get through all three rounds healthy, finish on the podium and earn my spot in Moscow.

“Now I have time to get back to the basics in training, get some more tune up races and adopt the proper focus for the World Championships in August. My coach told me next time we are going to switch my lead leg and trail leg just a week before a major championship just to see if we can get it done… ha ha!  

“I’ve just arrived in the UK. Of course, I've got some good memories from the last time I was here in the England. I am not expecting any records on Sunday but I like the fact that my road to Moscow stops in a country which offered up so many great memories for me in 2012.

“All of the top hurdlers are evenly matched right now so the race will be exciting and close, I think. Be patient with me everyone and I'll be ready to roll in Moscow when the show begins.  

"Until then, follow me on Facebook and twitter."