Tyson Gay, the American sprinter, has warned his rivals that he can run even faster as he prepares for today's Diamond League meeting in New York.
Gay, who clocked 9.79sec in the 100 metres in a low-key meeting in Florida in his first race of the year last weekend, said: "It was my first race and I was only about 75 per cent." World record holder Usain Bolt will not compete in New York, but Gay will race against the highly-rated Jamaican, Steve Mullings.
Mullings, Gay's training partner, won the 100m in 9.80sec at the Diamond League event in Oregon last Saturday. Gay admitted: "He was running 10.00, now he's running 9.80; I have to step my game up to another level and see what happens."
The main goal this season for Gay, whose personal best time of 9.69 is second only to Bolt's world record of 9.58, will be the World Championships in South Korea, starting in August, when the two are scheduled to go head-to-head.
But for now he is concentrating on maintaining fitness after recent battles with injuries. "It's very frustrating – but at the same time, in some ways running with injuries or running hurt has made me the person I am today; it has made me fight harder," Gay said.
Bolt blew his rivals off the track in his first 200m race in 13 months in Oslo on Thursday, the Jamaican running 19.86, only five-hundredths of a second outside of Frankie Fredericks' track-record time.
Today's meeting at Randall's Island, near Manhattan, also features two-times women's world high jump champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia and three-times 200m world champion Allyson Felix of the United States.
Vlasic, the 2010 world athlete of the year, is building form and fitness after an illness in January. She has a personal best of 2.08m, only one centimetre below the world record set by Bulgaria's Stefka Kostadinova at the 1987 World Championships in Rome.
Meanwhile, for South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, today's meeting offers him another chance to qualify for the 400m at the World Championships. The double amputee, who has fought a protracted legal battle to compete against able-bodied athletes, has a best time of 45.61, and needs to get down to 45.25 to qualify.