RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Tyson Gay has a few aches and pains and still feels rusty but his fine display at the weekend has left him confident of making the U.S. team for the London Olympics, the American 100 metres record holder said on Monday.
Gay, in his first appearance for nearly a year following hip surgery, clocked 10.00 seconds into a headwind to win the B race at the New York Diamond League meeting on Saturday.
The time put the 2009 world championship silver medallist, and the world's second fastest man behind Jamaican Usain Bolt, in the mix to win an Olympic spot in the ultra-competitive U.S. trials at Eugene, Oregon in less than three weeks.
Only the top three finishers in each event qualify for next month's London Games.
"It is going to be a dogfight," Gay told Reuters in a telephone interview from Boston.
"I think (2004 Olympic champion Justin) Gatlin is running the best of anyone in the United States right now. Walter Dix (and) Mike Rodgers are also running well ... (but) I feel confident in making the team."
Gay, who could not even jog until March, said he did not feel as bad physically as he thought he would after Saturday's race.
"That was my first time running in so long but I didn't feel as sore as I thought I would," said the sprinter who has teamed up with sponsors Gillette to gift $25,000 to the high school track and field programme at Lexington, Kentucky where his career began.
"I think these next two weeks are very critical for me to train smart. I think that will help me get over the hump.
"The only time I feel pain is when I come into knee flexion," added the 2007 world champion.
An injury in the 200 metres at the trials left Gay at less than full speed for the 2008 Beijing Games and he went out in the semi-finals of the 100, denying him a chance of a first Olympic medal.
Although defeating Bolt and world champion training partner Yohan Blake would be a tough proposition in London, Gay is still hoping to pick up a medal if he qualifies.
"That would be very special," said the softly-spoken American. "That would solidify my career.
"That is the only thing I am missing besides the world record. But records come and go.
"Once I get a medal I will be able to keep that close to me for the rest of my life."
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)