Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | June 1, 2009
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Gay surprised at clocking 19.58 now
NEW YORK, United States (CMC):

Reigning World Championship sprint-double king, Tyson Gay, admits he performed above his own expectation when he ran 19.58 seconds to win the 200 metres at the 2009 Reebok Grand Prix meeting on Saturday.

The American's superb clocking at the Icahn Stadium was the third fastest in history - behind Usain Bolt's 19.30 and Michael Johnson's 19.32 - and signalled he is on the right path to defend his IAAF world titles in Berlin, Germany, this summer against the fabulous Bolt and company.

The 19.58 clocking, Gay said, "does a lot" for his confidence and while he knew he could run that time, he did not expect it in May.

"19.5 was a goal, but I didn't expect it to come this early in the season," he said.

Big setbacks

Just over a year ago, Gay was the Olympic favourite heading into Beijing, but Bolt rocketed ahead of him and everyone else at pre-Beijing meets and an injury to Gay weeks before the Olympics made things even easier for the Jamaican marvel at the big show in China.

Bolt beat Gay over 100 metres at the 2008 Reebok in a world-record 9.72 seconds and Gay's Olympic dream suffered an even bigger setback when he injured his hamstring at the US trials.

"I felt like I let a lot of people down," Gay said about his 2008 season.

Bolt, with his dazzling world-record times of 9.69 in the 100 metres and 19.30 (200m) in Beijing, remains the target for all the world's sprinters, and Gay is preparing himself to challenge the 6-foot-5-inch 2008 IAAF Male Athlete of the Year.

"I wouldn't say Bolt's times are out of reach. 19.30 (for 200m) was a shocker, but what was shocking about the 100m was the way he ran it. I hope I can run those times, because that's what I'll need to do to win," Gay said.

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