Richardson-Merritt clash tops billing in Shanghai

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World sprint hurdles champion Jason Richardson will face Olympic champion and world record holder Aries Merritt at the 2013 Diamond League Shanghai meeting on May 18 as more athletes joined the roster, organizers said yesterday.

Richardson will also have Moscow on his mind where he will defend the world 110-meter hurdles title against Merritt, his American teammate who beat him to Olympic gold in London last August.

The Richardson-Merritt clash will be one of the highlights of the Shanghai meeting and a chance for both athletes to get an early confidence boost on the road to Moscow. Richardson was third here last year en route to Olympic silver, one place ahead of Merritt in a contest won by home favorite Liu Xiang.

He went on to win the Diamond League race in New York before lowering his personal best to 12.98 seconds at the US Olympic trials. A similar sub-13 time would be a welcome early-season performance for the 27-year-old American.

While Richardson joins the line-up, another world champion, Jamaican Yohan Blake, has been forced to withdraw. The man who calls himself "the beast" has a slight injury and needs to recover fully ahead of his world 100 title defense.

Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, British long jumper Greg Rutherford, and Ethiopian distance legend Meseret Defar have joined the entry list for the second meeting in the IAAF's 2013 Diamond League calendar.

The 2013 Shanghai Diamond League meeting at Shanghai Stadium will include 16 events - nine for men (200 meters, 400, 1,500, 110 hurdles, 3,000 steeplechase, high jump, long jump, discus throw and javelin throw) and seven for women (100, 800, 5,000, 400 hurdles, pole vault, triple jump, and shot put).

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