Sprinter Tyson Gay of the U.S. crosses the finish in the men’s 100 meters race at the Diamond League New York Grand Prix athletics meet, June 9, 2012. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK, June 9 (Reuters) – Former world champion Tyson Gay returned to the track for the first time in nearly a year, clocking 10.00 seconds to win a 100 meters B race at a Diamond League meeting on Saturday.

“I felt pretty good,” said 2009 world silver medalist Gay who had not competed since pulling out of the semi-finals at the U.S. world championship trials in June 2011.

“I would have liked to run nine seconds but that wasn’t bad considering the headwind.”

The American passed up a chance to test himself against Jamaican world champion Yohan Blake in the featured 100 meters taking place later, instead measuring his progress in a less stressful race.

Gay had surgery on his hip in July and another procedure in March. He only began sprint training three weeks ago as he builds up for the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon from June 21-July 1.

“It hurt a little during warm-ups but not in the race,” the 2007 double world champion told reporters. “It’s one of those issues that makes me feel a lot older than I am.

“It normally used to take me a couple of hours to warm up but now it takes another hour or so. It aches and it grabs but I just try to get through the pain.”

Gay said his long absence had led to some bad ways that he was working on eliminating.

“I’ve gone back to some old bad habits,” he said. “My arms are too long, I’m taking too big steps at the start. But that’s getting better.”

Gay said he felt “pretty good” about his chances at the U.S. trials and noted how fast world record holder Usain Bolt and fellow Jamaicans Asafa Powell and Blake had been sprinting.

“They’re running great,” Gay said. “Shows what you can do when you’re healthy.”

Gay added he had been training from Monday to Friday each week. “My fitness level is pretty good and it’s getting better.”

The London Olympics start on July 27.