One of the preevent favourites was disqualified, the world No1 made a modest start to his gold medal quest and heat one was delayed for nine minutes because of a malfunctioning starting pistol – the opening event in the ten-discipline test was certainly not without its talking points.
The award for silliest athlete of the championships must be awarded to Andrei Kravchenko, of Belarus. The world No2 was fancied as a potential gold medallist but two blatant false starts saw the European under-23 champion thrown out of the competition in what will prove a harsh lesson for the talented 21-year-old.
Defending champion Bryan Clay (USA) rose above the distractions in heat two to keep his cool and record 10.44 – within 0.08 of his lifetime best - for 989 points and move to the head of the overall standings.
But world record-holder and pre-event favourite Roman Sebrle looked sluggish in heat three. The Czech athlete faded over the final 10 metres to register 852 points in a modest 11.04. The Olympic champion stands a distant 15th after the first event - 137 adrift of Clay.
Jamaica’s Maurice Smith holds the silver medal spot 42 points behind Clay after recording a personal best of 10.62 in heat two. Belgian Francois Gourmet is on the bottom rung of the podium at this early stage of the competition after amassing 935 points for his 10.67 time.
The 2003 World bronze medallist Dmitiry Karpov made an encouraging start and stands fourth overall, taking heat three in 10.70 – within 0.01 of his lifetime best – to collect 929 points. The Kazakhstan athlete stands fourth after the first event.
Japanese home favourite Hiromasa Tanaka shrugged off the inconvenience of the nine-minute delay in heat one to take a comfortable heat one victory in 11.05 for 850 points.
Osaka 2007 News Team/sl