TYSON GAY returns to action after a six-week injury lay-off at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene in Oregon today determined to prove he can challenge the sprint dominance of Usain Bolt.
Gay has recovered from a sore hamstring which delayed the start of his Diamond League campaign and will aim to lay down the gauntlet to his Jamaican rival when he races over 200 metres at one of his favourite venues this weekend.
The 2007 world 100m and 200m gold medallist has, along with Asafa Powell, had to play second fiddle to Bolt, with Bolt triumphing over both distances at the 2008 Olympics and last summer’s World Championships in world record times.
But the 27-year-old injury-prone American record holder has always insisted that, when fully fit, he has the ability to test Bolt, who is himself recovering from an Achilles setback.
Gay, who posted the first of his three national 100m records in Eugene, intends to send out a clear message to both Bolt and Powell that he has the credentials to reinstate himself as world number one after his belated start to the outdoor season.
“At some point it is time for me to put up or shut up,” said Gay, competing for the first time since roaring to a world 200m best of 19.41 seconds on a straight track at the Manchester City Games in mid-May.
“The good news is that I don’t have any kind of major injury. But the bad news is that I have had some muscle soreness in my hamstring which has slowed my preparations for summer.
“Basically, a tight hamstring started right around the time I ran in Manchester and, because I didn’t want to take any big risks, I consulted with the doctor in Europe who has helped me in the past. He looked closely and found no damage. So I am not injured but also not totally healthy.”
Gay, who has a personal 200m best of 19.58 seconds, added: “I think I can run fast – real fast. But I don’t want to talk about that. I just want to do it.
“He’s (Bolt) going to be tough to beat. The challenge is for me to work hard to get to where he is at.”
That will see Gay aiming to produce a quick time in his clash with fellow American Walter Dix, who sits second in this year’s world rankings behind Bolt after storming to an impressive 19.86secs victory at last month’s Diamond League meet in Rome.
The event has attracted 41 Olympic or world gold medallists, but the European Championships later this month has seen just over 20 from Europe make the trip to Eugene – the home of US track and field meetings.
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