Tyson Gay, the 32-year-old American record-holder in the 100 metres, won a US national title for the first time since 2008 when he beat teenager Trayvon Bromell in a time of 9.87 seconds at Eugene, Oregon. The victory secured Gay a place at the World Championships in August.
Gay was disgraced after a 2013 doping ban, but fans greeted him by name and with a stuffed toy bear after his victory. “It turned out to be one of the most exciting things I’ve done,” he said of his victory lap. “A lot of people said ‘welcome back … I’m so glad to have you back’. It meant a lot to me.”
Back in the frame
He said he feels as if the victory returned him to prominence in the world of athletics. “This win right here may be the most important win” of his career, the 2007 double sprint world champion said. “Just being able to come back from a mistake, show the world that you can make up for the mistake.”
He said the sprint competition is tougher than ever. “Back in 2000 and some of the other times when I ran the trials, my competitors weren’t running as fast. The competition wasn’t as stiff during the rounds. People are just getting faster and I have to adapt, too.”
He paid tribute to Bromell, who led out of the blocks and finished second in 9.96 seconds. “That kid, he’s tough,” Gay said. “He got out good. It was just one of those 10-years-of-experience, dig-down moments. I had to get him.”
Gay and compatriot Justin Gatlin, already through to the worlds because of his Diamond League victory, will face world-record holder Usain Bolt at Beijing. Gay said: “Right now, I’m not paying any attention to Usain Bolt. Everything he does now doesn’t really matter because when he shows up at championships he’s always ready.”
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