Bryan Clay is having quite a morning at the 11th IAAF World Indoor Championships. The leader after the first event, the 60 Metres, by 88 points, he stretched it to 151 after the second, the Long Jump, as a brilliant competition began to develop.
At last summer’s 10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Clay, of America, took gold in the decathlon ahead of Roman Sebrle, the Olympic champion, from the Czech Republic.
From Helsinki then to Moscow now and another thrilling head-to-head is developing after Sebrle, who has won this title twice, soared up the rankings after winning the Long Jump with 7.76m, to score 1000 points.
It had been a strange start to the day for Sebrle, who was last in the 60 Metres in 7.10, but in a season’s best time. Yet one of the best multi-eventers in history proved his undoubted quality with a consistent series of efforts in this second discipline.
He led all the way, landing 7.74m in the sand with his first jump, which he extended to 7.76m with his second - the victory leap - before 7.56m with his third.
Ironic, really, that having lacked pace in the sprint, he looked quick and commanding on the Long Jump runway.
Clay had to respond, which he did with his first jump of 7.68m, before a foul with his second. His final attempt became even more important because of Sebrle’s pressure and the American delivered with an excellent 7.74m. It brought him 995 points, just five less than the Czech Republic star who might have been a long way behind points wise, but his presence was breathing down Clay's neck as the competitors broke until the afternoon session.