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Merritt wins men's 400 at worlds

BERLIN — Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt won the men's 400-meter title Friday at the world championships, again beating American teammate Jeremy Wariner.

Merritt beat the two-time defending world champion, clocking the fastest time in the world this year at 44.06 seconds.

Wariner finished in 44.60, losing by a smaller margin to Merritt then he did at last year's Beijing Olympics, when he trailed by nearly a second (.99). Rennie Quow of Trinidad and Tobago took bronze in 45.02.

"It was all about putting it from my head to the track. I had already won the race in my heart," Merritt said. "I had run the race a million times in my mind before I stepped on the track. And every time in my mind I had won."

Merritt has now taken both the Olympic and the world titles from Wariner.

"We're competitors," Merritt said. "We're both representing USA, so we'll link in the 4x400 later, but both of us want the same thing at the end of the day.

"He's a great sportsman, I'm a great sportsman. I know every time we line up we're going to bring the best out of each other — our 'A' game. I came out on top today."

After seeing his dominance usurped by Merritt, Wariner went back to coach Clyde Hart in May.

"I think I was in good position coming off the turn, exactly where I wanted to be at, but he just had a better kick today, unfortunately," Wariner said. "But you know, we came 1-2 like we did last year, and I'm going to get refocused and get ready for this relay on Sunday.

"I came in here with expectations of defending my title, but it didn't work out. My kick wasn't like it used to be. He just had a better finish."