Sanya Richards-Ross questions U.S. team selection rule
By Associated Press
Jun 29 2011
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - United States sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross disagrees with team selection rules keeping Tyson Gay out of a 100-meter duel with Usain Bolt at the world championships.
Richards-Ross said on Wednesday she's disappointed Gay missed selection in a strict system that picks the 1-2-3 finishers in each event at the U.S. trials.
"I think it should be first two (qualify), and the third should be a coaches' selection based on fitness and race sharpness," the 400-meter world champion told reporters ahead of the Athletissima meeting.
Gay has the world season-best time of 9.79 seconds but sustained a hip injury which forced him to pull out of the trials last week at Eugene, Oregon.
Under U.S. team rules, Gay's ineligible for individual events at the worlds in Daegu, South Korea in August. If fit, he could still be picked for relays.
However, the 2007 world champion at 100 and 200 - and track fans worldwide - will be denied a repeat of his 2009 worlds showdown with Bolt, which the Jamaican won in a record 9.58.
"I'm disappointed," Richards-Ross said. "I am a huge fan of the sport and I was looking forward to that race as well."
The rule cost her a place at the 2007 worlds in Osaka, Japan, after she fell ill at the trials.
Richards-Ross was top-ranked and the reigning world athlete of the year but placed fourth and missed selection to her specialist event. She took home one gold medal from Osaka, as part of the winning U.S. 4x400 relay team.
As the defending world champ, Richards-Ross gets automatic entry to the individual 400 at Daegu.
She seeks a return to winning form at the Lausanne Diamond League event after a series of injuries wrecked her 2010 season.
"It has proved a little bit tougher than I thought it would be to get back into racing shape," she acknowledged. "Some losses will make me humbler when I'm victorious again."
The 400-meter world champion says "it should be first two (qualify), and the third should be a coaches' selection based on fitness and race sharpness."
Gay's hip injury forced him out of trials last week at Eugene, Ore. The rule cost Richards-Ross a place at the 2007 worlds after she fell ill at the trials.
Gay is ineligible for individual events at the world championships, which begin Aug. 27 in Daegu, South Korea.