NEW YORK - Returning to competition for the first time in almost a year, Tyson Gay won the 100-meter “B’’ race at the Adidas Grand Prix Saturday at Icahn Stadium. Given his prerace nerves, a headwind, and some lingering pain in his surgically repaired right hip, Gay was satisfied with his time of 10.0 seconds. He hopes to race again in a small meet before the US Olympic trials later this month.
“I think my agent tricked me,’’ said Gay with a smile. “Because he said, ‘We’re going to put you in a low-key meet. Then, I see the cameras out there on the track and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ I was pretty nervous, but it really did feel good to be back out there. The hip felt fine. I have aches and stuff. I just run through the pain and it’s getting better.’’
Gay, 29, added that he felt no pain during the race, though he said he needs to warm up longer to loosen his hip. The American record-holder (9.69) in the 100 and the 2007 world champion in the event required surgery to fix an impingement in his right hip, basically making his femur a better fit with his hip socket.
Gay expects to compete for a spot on the Olympic team, even with limited race experience ahead of the trials. He will run only the 100, rather than the 100 and 200, as he did in 2008.
“I think my fitness level is getting better,’’ said Gay. “I have a couple more weeks to sharpen up, which will be good.’’
‘Beast’ still best
Gay’s time looked like more of a confidence builder after Jamaican Yohan Blake won the “A’’ 100-meter race in 9.90 seconds with a tailwind. Blake, the reigning 100-meter world champion, struggled at the start and felt “pretty flat’’ during his race.
“[The start] always has been a problem over the years,’’ said Blake. “I just didn’t follow Coach’s instruction today.’’
Blake was surprised to see competitors beside him almost until the finish. Trinidadian Keston Bledman finished second in 9.93 and American Michael Rodgers placed third in 9.99.
“I’m ‘The Beast,’ ’’ said Blake. “I don’t expect anybody to be beside me. I feel a bit disappointed. I ran 9.9, but I wanted to run something better.’’
It’s likely Gay would have placed top three in the “A’’ heat without the headwind he encountered.
“It’s really good,’’ said Blake of Gay’s performance. “He said to me he wanted to run 9.9. I think without the breeze today he would’ve run that. It’s a good race for him.’’
In the men’s 400-meter race, South African Oscar Pistorius clocked 46.14 seconds, failing to meet the Olympic “A’’ standard of 45.30 needed to qualify for the London Games. He is trying to become the first double amputee to compete in track and field at the Olympics. Pistorius has met the “A’’ standard once this season, but needs to qualify again to earn a place on the South African Olympic team. Even if he doesn’t qualify for the 400, Pistorius believes he’ll be chosen as a member of South Africa’s 4 x 400 relay team. “I actually felt better than I have in weeks,’’ said Pistorius, who’s been dealing with a hip injury . . . Kenyan David Rudisha finished the 800 in 1:41.74, clocking the fastest time in the world this year and smashing the meet record (1:44.38). And he was just 0.73 off his world record. After his race, Rudisha mentioned he was thinking about running sub-1:40. “I was expecting to do a fast race today,’’ said Rudisha, the clear favorite for the London Olympics. “I was expecting 1:42. I felt great and I wanted to push it a little bit. I wanted to run something special here.’’ . . . Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the women’s 100 in 10.92 seconds. The reigning Olympic gold medalist was followed by three Americans - Tianna Madison with a personal best in second (10.97), Carmelita Jeter in third (11.05), and Allyson Felix in fourth (11.07) . . . Josh Lampron of Mansfield, Mass., was third in the boys’ Dream Mile in 4:02.98, moving into third on the New England boys’ all-time outdoor list.