Bryan Clay gave a clear ‘catch me if you can’ message to the rest of the field by extending his overall advantage to 79 points after soaring out to the longest jump of the competition in a rain-sodden Nagai Stadium.
After opening with a season’s best of 7.44m, the reigning champion delivered a clear warning to the opposition that it will some effort to wrestle the world title from his grasp as he launched out to 7.65m for 972 points.
Clay punched the air with joy after his final effort, knowing after two events, and an overall score of 1961 points, that he is setting a solid base from which to strike gold once again.
Pan American champion Maurice Smith consolidated second place as he came within one centimetre of his lifetime best in the third round, leaping 7.50m for 935 points. The Jamaican has been the surprise package of the first two events and amassed a total of 1882 points.
Former world junior bronze medallist Norman Muller moved into the bronze medal spot with 1803 points with a jump of 7.44m
The German is one point clear of Olympic champion Roman Sebrle who made a partial recovery after his below par 100m. The mighty Czech catapulted from 15th to fourth in the overall standings. However, for a man with a lifetime best of 8.11m a best effort of 7.56m was not as good as he would have hoped.
Former world bronze medallist Dmitriy Karpov plunged from fourth to seventh after a modest 7.19m. The Kazakh, who boasts a lifetime best of 8.05m, was badly out-of-sorts and now faces a big task to secure a medal.
After scoring zero points in the 100m following his disqualification for a false start, the World No2 Andrey Kravchenko made an unexpected appearance in the long jump. With no chance of winning a medal, the Belarussian at least restored some personal pride by achieving a best of 7.58m, the second longest jump of the competition.
Osaka 2007 News Team/sl