EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - Tyson Gay’s dream of a world championship re-match with world record holder Usain Bolt in the 100 meters ended on Friday when the American pulled out of the semi-finals of the United States trials with a hip injury.
“Today, I just couldn’t get it to go no matter how hard I tried,” the world’s second fastest man said on his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tyson.gay).
“My only focus now is to get healthy,” the disappointed Gay said.
His manager Mark Wetmore said the American record holder was forced to withdraw from the 100 after he was unable to warm up due to a hip and adductor problem on his right side.
Wetmore told Reuters that Gay would not take part in the 200 meters trials beginning on Saturday.
The injury cost the upcoming world championship organizers its headline matchup - a showdown between Gay and Bolt - and robbed the American team of its only sprinter within striking distance of the Jamaican.
“It is a big blow,” said U.S. 100 meters winner Walter Dix. “Tyson at his best is one of the top runners in the world.
“For us to not have him means we are just going to have to step up.”
Gay could be part of the U.S. world 4x100m relay team if he recovered in time, USA Track and Field (USATF) officials said.
“But he has to be able to show fitness and be able to run,” USATF President Stephanie Hightower told Reuters.
Former world record holder and Jamaican 100 meters trials winner Asafa Powell said he hoped that happened.
“I hope he can come back for even the relays at the world championships,” Powell told reporters after his victory in Kingston.
Hightower told Reuters she hoped Gay would quickly rebound from the injury.
“It is unfortunate that he is hurt and we wish him a speedy recovery,” Hightower said.
But she added that USATF’s emphasis also needed to be preparing the best team possible for the world championships in Daegu, South Korea in August.
Only the top three finishers in each event at the U.S. trials qualify for the world championships.
The cut-throat system has been questioned for years, and Gay wondered recently if it was the best way to select a team.
“I believe you should earn your spot - but sometimes it’s tough,” he told reporters in New York.
“You have a great sprinter, no matter what country they come from, they could be an Olympic champion, and they happen to be sick that morning because of food poisoning and they cannot run.
“But I know the system and you have to deal with it,” Gay said.
The U.S. record holder has been troubled by hip and adductor problems for some time. He had earlier cast doubt on competing in the 200 at the U.S. trials because of the problems.
World champion in the 100 and 200 in 2007, Gay missed a 100 meters clash with Bolt at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after not qualifying for the final, having failed to fully recover from a different injury in U.S. 200 meters trials.
The two finally met in the 2009 world championships with Bolt winning in a world record 9.58 seconds. Gay took second.
They raced again in Stockholm last year with Gay taking a surprise victory.
Now the world will need to wait for Gay to heal before talk of a re-match surfaces which might not be until the 2012 London Olympics.
Editing by Patrick Johnston