Clay leads the decathlon field in Helsinki

08-10-2005

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Tom Surber
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USA Track & Field
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HELSINKI, Finland - A strong performance in the discus throw propelled 2004 Olympic decathlon silver medalist Bryan Clay (Glendora, Calif.) to a commanding lead after eight events in the men's decathlon Wednesday at the 2005 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Helsinki.

Clay, who ran the 400 meters in 47.78 seconds (920 points) and the 110m hurdles in 14.43 (920 points), threw the discus 53.68 meters/176 feet, 1 inch, which added 947 points to his total. Clay's closest pursuer, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Roman Sebrle only tallied 805 points in that event. When Clay cleared 4.90m/16 feet, .75 inches in the pole vault, he raised his point total to 7,274 points. Clay enters the final two events (javelin, 1,500m) with a 222-point lead over Sebrele (7,052).

Other Americans in the decathlon include Paul Terek (Livonia, Mich.), who is 10th after eight events with 6,564 points, and Phil McMullen (El Sobrante, Calif.), who no-heighted in the pole vault and is in 18th place with 5,364 points.

High hurdlers handle windy conditions to advance

1996 Olympic gold medalist Allen Johnson (Irmo, S.C.) began his quest for a fifth world championship gold medal by finishing second in his opening round heat of the men's 110m hurdles. Johnson and his fellow competitors ran into a stiff -5.1 meters per second headwind, with Johnson crossing the line in 13.92 seconds to easily move on to Thursday evening's semifinals.

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell hit the eighth hurdle during heat 4 and nearly went down, but kept it together to finish third in 13.80 seconds to advance to the next round. 2005 USA Outdoor runner-up Dominique Arnold (Diamond Bar, Calif.) successfully made it through to the next round with his runner-up finish in heat 5 in 13.96, and two-time Big Ten champion and fourth-place finisher at the 2005 USA Outdoor Championships Joel Brown (Columbus, Ohio) placed third in the 6th heat in 13.90 to advance to the semifinals.

Men and women sprinters all advance to 200m quarterfinals

2000 Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist LaTasha Colander (Columbia, S.C.) ran well in the first round of the women's 200m qualifying in finishing second in 23.89 seconds to easily advance to this evening's quarterfinals.

In heat 2, 2004 Olympic silver medalist and reigning U.S. champion Allyson Felix (Los Angeles) got out well out of lane 7 and cruised to a runner-up finish in 22.68 seconds, and two-time Big Ten Conference champion and 2005 USA Outdoor runner-up Rachelle Boone-Smith finished third in heat 3 in 23.78 seconds.

In the men's 200m opening round, 2005 world leader (19.89) Wallace Spearmon ( Fayetteville, Ark.) advanced to this evening semifinals with a second place finish in 20.91 seconds, the same time as Germany's Tobias Unger, who was declared the winner.

2005 USA Outdoor Championships runner-up Tyson Gay (Lexington, Ky.) won heat 2 in 20.64 seconds, with defending world outdoor champion John Capel (Gainesville, Fla.) winning heat 3 in 20.78 seconds.

In heat 4, 2005 U.S. champion and 2005 world outdoor 100m gold medalist Justin Gatlin (Raleigh, N.C.) finished as the runner-up in 20.94 to move on to the next round.

Davis advances in triple jump

2005 USA Outdoor champion Walter Davis (Baton Rouge, La.) wasted little time in punching his ticket for the men's triple jump final with an impressive performance Wednesday morning. Davis qualified for tomorrow night's final with a jump of 17.08 meters/56 feet, .50 inch, which surpasses the automatic qualifying mark of 17 meters.

After a foul and a second attempt of 16.47m/54-0.50, Davis' teammate Kenta Bell (Davenport, Fla.) inproved to 16.72m/54-10.25 on his third attempt to qualify for the final.

Women 400m hurdlers move to next round

2005 USA Outdoor champion Lashinda Demus (Columbia, S.C.) easily advanced to the next round, winning her heat in 56.64. Starting in lane 6, she made up one stagger after the first hurdle, and the other stagger midway through the final curve.

Shauna Smith (Laramie, Wyo.), the 2005 NCAA outdoor champion and 2005 NCAA Midwest Regional champion, had to battle a fierce wind while running in lane 8. She finished fourth in 58.33 to advance to the next round.

Four-time USA Outdoor champion and 2003 World Outdoor silver medalist Sandra Glover (Sugar Land, Texas) looked smooth in winning her heat in 55.31. The semifinals take place Thursday night.

Gilreath moves on in the hammer

Erin Gilreath (Gainesville, Fla.) celebrated her birthday a day early by finishing 10th in the hammer qualifying round, to move on to Friday's finals. The two-time U.S. Outdoor champion got her qualifying mark of 67.41m/221-2 on her first throw.

Amber Campbell (Conway, S.C.) got off a best of 65.48/214-10 to finish 18th, with Bethany Hart (Trumball, Conn.) tossing a best of 63.97/209-10 to place 25th. Neither qualified for the final.

Events rescheduled

Due to exceedingly cold, windy and rainy conditions, two events have been rescheduled to take place on Friday, August 12. Those events and the times they are scheduled for are as follows.

12:00 Men's High Jump Qualification Groups A & B

6:40 p.m. Women's Pole Vault Final

All times are local.

For more information on Team USA at the 2005 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships, visit www.usatf.org.