TYSON Gay is recovering from losing his world 100m and 200m crowns by setting his sights firmly on the 9.5 second mark – as long as Usain Bolt doesn’t get there first.
I’LL BE BACK: Tyson Gay insists he will be back to full fitness to renew his rivalry with Usain Bolt next season
The American came out second best at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin in August, claiming silver behind Bolt in the 100m before having to watch from the sidelines as the flying Jamaican smashed the world record in the 200m a few days later.
And Gay was denied the chance for revenge in the relay when, for the second consecutive major championships, the Americans fluffed up their heat and were disqualified for an illegal handover between Shawn Crawford and Darvis Patton.
But the American is a tough cookie to break down and with trademark confidence Gay insists he is focusing on the positives from Berlin, where he set a new American record of 9.71 secs in the 100m final, despite a niggling groin injury which ruled him out of defending his 200m title.
“I was happy with the medal and the performance,” said Gay. “I had a little bit of pain with my groin so I still felt victorious in my own way. It made me glad I didn’t quit and give up.
“But I know I can run a lot faster – I’ve been saying that since day one. I really believe 9.5 seconds is possible. I know it sounds strange for a guy who’s best is 9.7 to say that but I honestly believe it – it’s been one of my goals since I started running.
“Although I told my coach Jon Drummond I’ve stopped writing goals down because Usain keeps breaking them before I do! But the bottom line is, if I stay healthy and train hard, I believe I can get myself to that level.
“The time Usain ran was amazing and unfortunately it wasn’t me on that day but it’s just about getting healthy again.”
Gay has been plagued with injuries since scooping triple gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the World Championships in Osaka two years ago.
A hamstring strain at the Olympic trials in 2008 meant the 27-year old missed out on the 200m in Beijing and hampered the American’s preparation so much that he failed to make the 100m final.
And a persistent groin complaint this season prevented Gay from admitting to 100 per cent fitness at any point in the year.
But the world silver medallist isn’t finished yet this season – he lines up in the 100m at the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead on Monday in a high class field which also includes world 4x100m relay bronze medallists, Brits Marlon Devonish, Tyrone Edgar and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey.
And as Gay prepares for one of his last events of the season, he is adamant he will take his rivalry with Bolt to new levels when he returns, fully fit, next year.
“I’m going to be back to 100 per cent next season,” said Gay. “The groin problems have been a setback this year and my groin has been constantly sore.
“I would have liked to have been competing but it wasn’t too difficult to watch. I knew there was a possibility I wasn’t going to be able to run and I knew my body wasn’t able to go through another three runs.
“But I’ve been doing a lot of strength work recently. I’ll take six weeks off after this season and then get back to training again for next year.
“Usain knows I’m going to be around next season and it’s great for the sport to have that rivalry. I didn’t realise how special it was to run against someone that talented – he’s keeping me in the limelight as well.
The only person I’ve been beaten by this season is the world record holder and I intend to keep it that way in Gateshead.”