12 MAR 2006 General News Moscow, Russia

World Indoor Championships - Expected Highlights, DAY THREE

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia in action during the men's 3000m heats (Getty Images)Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia in action during the men's 3000m heats (Getty Images) © Copyright

Did Bryan Clay sleep well? It is a question posed because he entered the first day of the men’s Heptathlon at the 11th IAAF World Indoor Championships after a restless Friday night and still produced a stunning performance.

What then can we expect if the American arrives here this morning totally refreshed? Either way, the climax of the event should become a fantastic spectacle as the Championships draw to a close.

At last summer’s 10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Finland, Helsinki, Clay beat Roman Sebrle, of the Czech Republic, to gold and this morning just 38 points separates them.

The 60m Hurdles is their first event, followed by the Pole Vault before the Heptathlon ends with a 1000m at 4.10pm.

Though Clay has looked immense, do not discount Sebrle clawing back those points and it could all be decided by who has the most over five laps on the track.

It is a day of 13 finals in Moscow, including at 5.40pm a potentially-thrilling men’s 3000m. Kenenisa Bekele, of Ethiopia, the Olympic and double World 10,000m champion, seeks his first indoor gold but it will not be easy because he faces Saif Saaeed Shaheen, of Qatar, the World 3000m Steeplechase champion, and the impressive Kenyan Shadrack Korir.

No wonder the organisers have made the men’s 800m the last individual track final. It has been a superb weekend for Russia so far and Yuriy Borzakovskiy, the Olympic champion, could complete that by taking gold.

He is one of his country’s biggest sporting stars and he will take all the beating...but here is another name to conjure with.

Before these Championships, few people on the world stage had heard of Britain’s Jimmy Watkins but he has battled his way through to the final, based on the inspiration of reading a book about how Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett won middle-distance gold in the Olympics in this city nearly 26 years ago.

The women’s 800m final should be a great race too, pitting former Olympic champion Maria de Lurdes Mutola, of Mozambique, against Russia’s outstanding Olga Kotlyarova and Moroccan Hasna Benhassi, who won Olympic silver in Athens.

The day’s other finals are the two 4 x 400m Relays, the men’s Pole Vault, the women’s Long Jump, the women’s Shot Put, both 400m finals, the women’s High Jump, the men’s Triple Jump and the women’s 1500m.