EUGENE - World champion Tyson Gay hopes to make only a brief appearance when the US championships begin today in this American athletics hub.
"I plan to run the first round of the 100m and see how things go," the 2007 world 100m and 200m champion said on Tuesday.
"If I execute everything I need to work on, I'll just leave it at that."
Otherwise he could run another round or two, he said. Gay plans to defend both his titles in the August world championships in Berlin, setting up a much-anticipated showdown with Jamaican world record-holder and Olympic champion Usain Bolt.
The four-day meeting will select the US team and only Gay and the seven other defending US world champions are guaranteed spots.
Most of the team will be chosen in cut-throat fashion with the top three finishers in each event qualifying for Berlin.
Injury concerns have played a key role in Gay's decision to limit participation. Defending world champions can collect their Berlin wild cards by competing in one round of any event at the nationals.
"The national championships are very important to me, but it also is very important for me to stay healthy," the 26-year-old said. "I learned that last year, running real fast and then not having time to recover."
Gay set an American record of 9,77 seconds in the 100m at the US Olympics trials, then was injured in the 200m. He ran only the 100m at the Beijing Games but did not make the final.
Other defending world champions will take a variety of routes to collect their free passes to Berlin. Women's 200m winner Allyson Felix will run the 100m and 200m while men's 400m champion Jeremy Wariner will contest the 200m.
Double champion Bernard Lagat will race at 800m to prepare for defences of the 1500m and 5000m. - Reuters