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Page last updated at 07:56 GMT, Friday, 8 August 2008 08:56 UK

Injury eased Olympic nerves - Gay

Tyson Gay
Gay has only recently returned to full fitness

US sprinter Tyson Gay says the hamstring injury he suffered in July has actually helped his Olympic hopes.

Gay has been receiving treatment in Germany since sustaining the injury at last month's US trials but he insists time off the track has been beneficial.

"It was a setback but I think it helped me - my state of mind is pretty relaxed," said the 26-year-old.

Gay is expected to line up against Jamaican duo Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell in the 100m final on 16 August.

The 100m is Gay's only individual medal chance, having been forced out of the 200m event at the US trials with his injury.

"I was really upset about missing out on the 200m," said Gay, the world champion over both distances.

"My goal was to come back with three gold medals," he added, referring to his place in the US men's 4x100m relay team.

"But I haven't had anxiety about the whole Olympics because I've been in rehab, so I think it's really helped mentally."

Despite setting the fastest 100m time on record earlier this year - a wind-assisted 9.68-second performance at his Olympic trials - Gay's absence over the past month has seen the spotlight to shift to Powell and Bolt.

"Running my 9.68 in the 100m, a lot of people said, he has to win, he's got to be the favourite," said Gay.

"But at the same time, I had a slight injury, so it put the pressure back on the other competitors.

Asafa Powell
Powell has a reputation for failing to deliver nder pressure
"I don't feel as much pressure now. My hamstring feels good, I've had a lot of treatment and this is the Olympics so I'm sure that with all the adrenalin flowing I'm going to be 100%."

Powell, arriving in China as the least likely of the trio to claim the 100m crown, remained bullish about his chances.

"I am happier being the underdog. Tyson is obviously in good shape but he has had to peak for the US trials," said the Jamaican.

"Tyson has beaten me only once in his life and I have beaten him over 100 times but he won when it mattered," Powell said, referring to the 2007 World Championships final in Osaka, a race in which he could only finish third.

"It will be the same in Beijing. If Usain is there I'm not going to say 'Damn, I'm not going to get gold now'.

"People are making it seem that Asafa is dead. People are making it seem like Asafa can't run fast. Well, I can run faster than before."

see also
Powell powers to third 100m win
29 Jul 08 |  Athletics
I can win Olympic gold - Powell
24 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Injured Gay out of London meeting
23 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Powell sees off Bolt in Stockholm
22 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Gay set to be ready for Olympics
06 Jul 08 |  Athletics

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