US sprinter Tyson Gay will limit his races this World Championship season and expects to focus more on the 100m as he seeks to remain fit enough to challenge Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt.
“I’ll limit the number of races I’ll do this year. I’ll be smart,” Gay said on Wednesday as he prepared for tomorrow’s Diamond League meeting in New York. “And I’ll only run 100 at Nationals, no 200 — unless I feel like Superman.”
Gay said he has been nursing a nagging right hip injury since February.
“It comes and it goes,” said Gay, who nevertheless notched the fastest 100m in the world this year by clocking 9.79 seconds in the heats of a low-key meeting in Clermont, Florida, on Saturday.
Gay said he decided to add that tune-up event to his schedule after his training plans were disrupted by his injury.
If the 28-year-old indeed does skip the 200m at the US championships in Eugene, Oregon, later this month — the US’ World Championship trials — that means his chance to challenge Bolt at the worlds in Daegu, South Korea, from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4 would come at the shorter distance.
Bolt is a reigning triple Olympic and world champion and the world record-holder at 100m and 200m.
Gay battled injuries after winning the 100m and 200m world titles in Osaka in 2007.
He missed out on the Olympic final in Beijing the following year and pulled out of the 200m after taking 100m silver behind Bolt at the World Championships in Berlin two years ago.
However, he was unbeaten at 100m last year, including a victory over Bolt in their only face-to-face meeting.
Gay indicated it might be a mistake to put too much stock in that victory as a formguide to their expected match-up in Daegu.
“My conditioning was just better than him at that time,” Gay said.
Gay acknowledged that he would like to be able to challenge Bolt more consistently to build the rivalry — and to garner the attention of US sports fans who might be less than impressed with Gay’s status as the second-fastest man of all time.
“Americans don’t always like second-best,” Gay said. “They like guys like Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis, but if I’m 100 percent and still run second, I accept that.”