The American broke the world 100m hurdles record at last year’s Anniversary Games and is hoping for another fast race as she works towards the World Championships
A year ago, Kendra Harrison saw the Müller Anniversary Games meeting as an opportunity to make a statement after the disappointment of missing out on the US team for the Rio Olympics.
She succeeded in sensational style, storming to a world 100m hurdles record of 12.20. Now, after clearing a few extra barriers on the way, the 24-year-old is using the event as part of her journey towards next month’s IAAF World Championships in the same venue.
“The goal is to go out there and win,” she said, speaking at a press conference held the day before the Anniversary Games. “I want to run fast but the ultimate goal is the World Championships.”
Asked how important securing world success is after she missed the Rio Games, Harrison replied: “I think it’s very important. It’s something that I really want.
“I’ve trained really hard and I feel like I have what it takes. Mentally I think I’m in a better place than I was last year so I’m excited.”
The American currently leads the world rankings with her time of 12.28 clocked in Hungary on Tuesday, despite her season having been interrupted by a hand injury sustained just before her race at the Doha Diamond League – a race she went on to win.
“I broke my hand in Doha and I had to get surgery,” she said. “To be able to come back and get ready for World Champs… I’m just really glad to be back.”
On how pleased she is with her 12.28 so far, she added: “I’m very happy. It just shows that I’m in shape and even though I had a mishap a month ago I’m still on track to get the job done.”
The Anniversary Games should provide an ideal warm-up to the global event taking place in the same London Stadium one month later as Harrison joins the two women behind her in the world rankings – Jasmin Stowers and Nia Ali – as well as 2012 Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia in contesting the event which features two heats before a final.
The men’s sprint hurdles race also looks set to be a highlight as world record-holder Aries Merritt returns to the scene of his Olympic gold medal-winning success of five years ago.
Despite making a remarkable return, the 31-year-old missed out on the Rio Olympics following a kidney transplant but has shown fine form recently and booked his place on the US team for the World Championships.
“Tomorrow is very important,” he said, looking ahead to the Anniversary Games. “I have a lot of things I need to work on and we’re still training, we’re still about five weeks out from my first round (at the Worlds).
“Hopefully (the work done so far) will show tomorrow and if it doesn’t, it will show at the World Championships.”