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Exclusive: U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay to come back at New York GP

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - United States sprinter Tyson Gay will put aside the pain of a nagging hip injury and run his first race in nearly a year at this weekend's Adidas Grand Prix in New York as he scrambles to be fit for Olympic trials, he told Reuters on Monday.

Gay will not race Jamaican world champion Yohan Blake in the featured 100 meters event, however, and will instead compete in a preliminary race at the Diamond League meeting.

"I still have a pain (in the hip area), but am managing it and I've got to get on with it," Gay said in a telephone interview from Dallas, where he is currently training.

His Olympic trials are less than three weeks away, "and I've got to see where my body is," Gay said.

Although a pre-Olympic showdown with Blake, one of the favorites for the London 2012 Games, would be ideal, it would not be helpful to Gay at this point, the sprinter and his agent said.

"I am running in the B section because, competition wise, I am not ready yet," Gay said.

The separation will allow Gay to test himself without the pressure of racing the world champion, Gay's agent, Mark Wetmore, said from New York.

"It may not be ideal for everyone, with two athletes of that caliber in different races, but in an Olympic year we have to look after Tyson," Wetmore said.

"Blake, under the right conditions, could run 9.7. We don't know what Tyson can run. Hopefully he can have a great race and run 9.9."

Jamaican triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt has the year's fastest time at 9.76 seconds. His world record is 9.58 in 2009 with Gay the second fastest of all-time at 9.69 the same year.

The competition will be Gay's only race before the June 21-July 1 Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, where the 2007 double world champion will enter only the 100 meters.

"I am nervous (about New York) because I have high expectations for myself," Gay said. " I don't know what I can run, but my sprint coach (Jon Drummond) told me today he thought I could open decently."

Gay has not competed since pulling out of the 100 meters semi-final of the U.S. world championships trials in Eugene last June. He later had surgery on the hip and another procedure in March.

The often-injured 2009 world silver medalist only began sprint training three weeks ago.

"I usually open my season at a small meeting, but I decided in the past 48 hours to run in New York," he said.

(Editing by Ossian Shine)

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