Bryan Clay of the US celebrates winning the Decathlon in Helsinki (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Sidelined from international match, Clay ends 2006 season

After a recent streak of illness and injury, world Decathlon champion Bryan Clay has decided to forgo the rest of the 2006 season.

Clay, this year’s world leader after his 8677 point tally at the Hypo Meeting – IAAF Combined Events Challenge - in Gotzis, Austria, in May, was initially scheduled to compete at this weekend’s Nike Combined Events Challenge against Germany in Manhattan, Kansas. But after some recent setbacks in training, the 26-year-old Olympic silver medallist decided to hang up his spikes for the season.

“He actually had a tough time recovering from the illness at the US Championships,’ said Clay’s manager Paul Doyle. “And his training was less than perfect for about a three week period.”

After failing to clear a height in the Pole Vault, Clay didn’t finish the national championship competition in Indianapolis in late June.

“Then shortly after that,” Doyle said, “he suffered a strain in his back doing standing long jumps. With his major focus being the next two year's majors he decided to shut it down for the year and get healthy and focused on 2007.”

Meanwhile at the Kansas event, competitors faced sweltering temperatures that reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39 C.) on day one. Lela Nelson of the U.S. leads the Heptathlon with 3545 points, 103 ahead of Germany's Maren Schwerdtner. Jacob Minah of Germany leads the Decathlon with 4125 points.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF