11 MAR 2006 General News

Men's Heptathlon High Jump

Bryan Clay had quite a routine at the 11th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Moscow this afternoon. He stood in the middle of the arena, the leader of the men’s Heptathlon, and he looked around.

He whacked his hands against his thighs, he took a deep breath and then he puffed out his cheeks. After a routine which would have made a world heavyweight boxing champion proud before entering the ring in Las Vegas, Clay took off towards the High Jump.

It was worth it. He flew over. At that stage he had cleared 2.07m, but the best was still to come. That height came at his third attempt, but 2.10m arrived first time, though however hard he tried, he could not clear 2.13m.

It did not matter in terms of the event because at the end of the day, Clay, the champion from last summer’s 10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki, had achieved a personal best.

His performance showed the depth you need to go in a multi-events competition. He matched that of Roman Sebrle, of the Czech Republic, whom he beat in Helsinki.

Though they both ended with 896 points, Clay was now 38 points clear of the man who might have been expected to be at the top because of his better record at the High Jump.

Take nothing away from Sebrle, who contributed to a fabulous competition, entering the event at 1.95m, and clearing 2.10m at his second go.

But it was Clay’s day; tomorrow should be a thrilling finale.