June 27, 2005

Greene says he would run relay if asked

By Gene Cherry

CARSON, California (Reuters) - Injured three-time 100meters world champion Maurice Greene said Sunday he would runon the U.S. 4x100 meters relay team at the Helsinki worldchampionships in August if asked.

Greene crashed out of the 100 meters final at U.S.championships Saturday after injuring his left hamstring 70meters into the race.

That made the former world record holder ineligible for the100 meters team for Helsinki, but because he ran in the U.Schampionships, he could compete on the 4x100 meters relay.

"If Justin (Gatlin) and Shawn (Crawford) ask me, I will runthe relay," Greene told Reuters in an interview at thechampionships.

Olympic 100 meters champion Gatlin won both sprints at theU.S. championships while Crawford, the 200 meters goldmedallist in Athens, finished second in the shorter race andthird in the 200.

Gatlin said later he would welcome Greene on the relayteam.

"It would not be a great relay without Maurice," Gatlinsaid. "He's a great runner, he has a lot of heart and I know hewould get the job done."

Greene said he was told by officials he "was eligible torun the relay."

"My hamstring is still tight, still painful, but I will beOK," Greene added. "I hope to be ready to run in three weeks."

The 30-year-old Greene was in tears after the injury onSaturday.

"I felt like I could have won it (the U.S. title)," Greenetold reporters. "I wanted to go and get my world title back."

Greene won the last of his three world titles in 2001. Hewas the Olympic bronze medallist in the 100 meters at Athensand anchored the U.S. 4x100 meters relay team to a silvermedal.