June 28, 2011 / 7:36 PM / 8 years ago

Olympic 400m champ LaShawn Merritt cleared for worlds

LaShawn Merritt gestures after the men's 400m at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix in this September 20, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Aly Song

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Disgraced Olympic and world 400 meters champion LaShawn Merritt has been cleared to compete in August’s world championships, USA Track & Field (USATF) said on Tuesday.

Merritt needed an exception to USATF team policy to claim a wild-card berth in the world championships as the reigning champion.

U.S. team policy requires athletes to compete in its trials, which were held last weekend, to be eligible for world championships but Merritt was unable to because his 21-month doping suspension does not expire until July 27.

USATF’s board granted an exception since he would be eligible for competition a month ahead of the world championships.

Reporting by Gene Cherry; Editing by Frank Pingue

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