16 MAR 2003 General News

Men Heptathlon Event Five

Another day, another personal best. Despite a nervy start, preceded by three false starts in the 60 metres Hurdles, the fifth discipline in the men's Heptathlon at these 9th IAAF World Indoor Championships here in Birmingham, Tom Pappas, the overnight leader, blazed his way to another event victory.

The 2002 United States indoor champion stopped the clock at 7.80sec, the fastest ever seen in a multi-event at the World Indoors. It was his fifth personal best of the competition, earning Pappas 1033pts and further extending his lead.

From a sporting family, Pappas's grandfather had been a professional wrestler and his father held the world land speed record, this graduate of the University of Tennessee now was 224pts ahead of Russia's Lev Lobodin, who placed runner-up to the American in the hurdles in 7.89 for 1010pts and a total of 4509.

With just two events to go, the notoriously tricky Pole Vault and the least favourite for multi-eventers, the 1,000m, Pappas seems assured of gold if he can ensure a clearance in the vault - as a regular five-metre vaulter, with a personal best outdoors of 5.20, that should be within his compass.

The battle for the lesser medals will be keenly fought, with just 56pts covering second to fourth: defending champion Roman Sebrle, after his 8.02sec hurdles (977), remains in third on 4480, as Iceland's Jon Arnar Magnusson finished just 0.04sec behind him for 967pts and a five-event total of 4453.