Walker, Davis win gold at World Indoor Championships

03-12-2006

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Tom Surber
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USA Track & Field
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MOSCOW, Russia - Brad Walker overcame an injury to win the men's pole vault and Walter Davis won his second world championships gold medal on the final day of the 11th World Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Olimpiyskiy Sport Palace Complex in Moscow.

The 2005 World Outdoor Championships silver medalist, Walker (Seattle, Wash.) fell off the pit during a practice attempt prior to Saturday's qualifying round and hit his head outside the pit. He went on to qualify for the final and won it with a clutch seasonal best clearance of 5.80 meters/19-0.50 on his third attempt at that height.

"I understated how fast I was moving on the runway during warm-ups and I rotated into the pit and went off to the side," said Walker of his Saturday mishap. "My feet and legs hit the pit and threw my back and head onto the track and I hit my head. The lights went out for a while and I got back up and qualified. I had a little bit of a whiplash. I had a CT scan thanks to the Russian Federation and it was determined that I was stable and healthy, which was the most important thing to me. I was sore today and feeling the effects of what happened. I was just a little bit cautious hitting the pit in warm-ups.

"This is amazing! I didn't want another silver (medal) like Helsinki. Thankfully, on my third attempt everything came together and I won the gold medal.

"I cannot say enough about the USATF staff this weekend. Between chasing down my poles and spending a bunch of man hours chasing those down, and me having my unfortunate accident in prelims, they were supportive the whole way through and walked me through it." American record holder Jeff Hartiwg (Jonesboro, Ark.) did not clear a height in the men's pole vault competition.

Davis world champ again

Reigning World Outdoor men's triple jump champion Walter Davis (Baton Rouge, La.) also faced a bit of an adventure on his way to the gold medal. Davis believed he scored well on his first attempt in the final and was surprised to learn that it had only been recorded as a leap of 17.42m/57-2. Davis questioned the result and during the third round the score was changed to the winning figure of 17.73m/58-2, a new personal best.

"It feels great, man," said Davis. "Knowing that they counted me out again it feels great."

On his first and winning jump being changed during the third round: "They put 17.30m on the first one because they saw a mark they forgot to erase from earlier," he said. "One guy measured from the actual mark for me and they told me they checked it on television and switched it to make it right."

On being the reigning world indoor and outdoor champion: "When they talk about triple jumping they are going to have to say my name now."

Relay teams appear on medal stand

Team USA's 4x400m relay team of Tyree Washington (Murrieta, Calif.), LaShawn Merritt (Suffolk, Va.), Milton Campbell (Atlanta, Ga.) and Wallace Spearmon (Fayetteville, Ark.) led from beginning to end in winning the gold medal in convincing fashion in 3:03.24. Joining the American quartet on the victory stand were James Davis (Houston, Texas) and Obra Hogans (Decatur, Ga.) who competed in the opening round qualifying earlier on Sunday.

Team USA's young 4x400m women's relay team rose to the occasion to win the silver medal in a seasonal best time of 3:28.63. Debbie Dunn (Avondale, Ariz.) led off for Team USA followed by Tiffany Ross-Williams (Columbia, S.C.) and Monica Hargrove (Washington, D.C.) who ran the third leg. Mary Danner (Cincinnati, Ohio) ran a terrific anchor leg and passed the anchor for the Belarus team for the silver medal.

Kia Davis (Las Vegas, Nev.), who competed for Team USA in the opening round of competition, also received her silver medal.

Clay, Madison score silver for Team USA

Reigning world decathlon champion Bryan Clay (Glendora, Calif.) held the lead going into the final two events of the men's heptathlon in Moscow, but he could not hold on for the title. Germany's Andre Niklaus won the final event (1,000 meters) of the competition convincingly to take the gold medal from Clay. Niklaus won the event with 6,192 points, with Clay finishing with the silver medal five points shy of Niklaus.

Elsewhere, reigning women's world long jump outdoor champion Tianna Madison (Knoxville, Tenn.) posted a personal best of 6.80m/22-3.75 in winning the silver medal in that event. Russian Tatyana Kotova won the gold with a world-leading mark of 7.00m/22-11.75.

2005 World Outdoor silver medalist Chaunte Howard (Atlanta, Ga.) placed eighth in the women's high jump with a clearance of 1.94m/6-4.25, USA Indoor champion Milton Campbell (Atlanta, Ga.) finished fifth in the 400 meters in 46.15, 2006 USA Indoor champion Jillian Camarena (Provo, Utah) finished seventh in the women's shot put with a best throw of 17.60m/57-9 and 2006 USA Indoor champion Treniere Clement (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished seventh in the women's 1,500 meters in 4:11.21.

MEDAL TABLE (After three days of competition)

1. Russia: Gold - 8 Silver - 5 Bronze 5 = 18

2. United States: Gold - 7 Silver - 4 Bronze 2 = 13

3. Ethiopia: Gold - 2 Silver - 0 Bronze -0 = 2

Ukraine: Gold - 2 Silver -0 Bronze - 0 = 2

5. Kenya: Gold - 1 Silver - 1 Bronze - 2 = 4

On the scoring table for places 1-8, Team USA scored its highest point total ever at a World Indoor Championships with 121 points. The previous high was 108 points from the 1993 World Indoor Championships in Toronto.

"I would like to congratulate the members of Team USA for performing superbly in Moscow, with many of our athletes producing medal winning performances while feeling ill," said USATF CEO Craig Masback. "I would also like to pay tribute to the local organizing committee in Moscow for a job well done and to the Russian team for its tremendous performance."

Team USA medalists:

Gold: Lisa Barber (women's 60m); Reese Hoffa, men's shot put; Leonard Scott, men's 60m; Terrence Trammell, 60m hurdles; Brad Walker, men's pole vault; Walter Davis, men's triple jump; Tyree Washington, LaShawn Merritt, Milton Campbell, Wallace Spearmon, Walter Davis, Obra Hogans, 4x400m relay.

Silver: Lauryn Williams (women's 60m); Tianna Madison (women's triple jump); Bryan Clay (men's heptathlon); Debbie Dunn, Tiffany Ross-Williams, Monica Hargrove, Mary Danner, Kia Davis (women's 4x400m relay)

Bronze: Terrence Trammell (men's 60 meters); Dominique Arnold (men's 60m hurdles)

QUOTES

BRYAN CLAY (men's heptathlon): I can't complain too much. I had a few really good events and some really bad events. It was going to come down to who made the most mistakes and yesterday and today I probably made the most. I'm just happy to finish in the medals. I'm okay with that, especially with how I performed. I'll come back stronger outdoors, that's a promise.

MILTON CAMPBELL (men's 400m): Things didn't go how I would have liked. I don't know. I'm thankful for the opportunity. It's another good experience but a disappointing one. I'm looking forward to outdoor season.

JILLIAN CAMARENA (women's shot put): I thought I was ready and I wasn't. It was still good to be out there and compete with the girl's and I want to come back.

TIANNA MADISON (women's long jump): It's been a frustrating week and a frustrating season. I did jump my personal best, so I really can't ask for more than that. I was starting off two different marks and the original mark was what got me the jump that I needed.

JEFF HARTWIG (men's pole vault): I was running a fever all last night and this morning and I had no power at all. I just couldn't get going, I'm still running a fever and I feel bad. I've had a stomach problem since I got here. It's just disappointing.

WALLACE SPEARMON (men's 4x400m relay): It feels great, magnificent! My first gold medal. I did what I had to do.

MILTON CAMPBELL (men's 4x400m relay): It's always a great opportunity to run the relay because there's three other guys and you know they are depending on you the whole way. I guess I redeemed what I lost in the 400.

LaSHAWN MERRITT (men's 4x400m relay): It feels great. We came here to do a job and win the 4x400 and bring it home to the U.S. and that's what we did.

TYREE WASHINGTON (men's 4x400m relay): It was quite an experience for me because usually I'm running second, third or anchoring, but the coaches wanted me to run lead leg and I just wanted to drop a bomb on them and that's what we did. We didn't get the world record but we got the gold medal and that's all that matters.

TRENIERE CLEMENT (women's 1,500m) I didn't have a good start at all. There was a lot of pushing and it was hard for me to get where I needed to be. It was my first final and I learned a lot.

CHANTE HOWARD (women's high jump): It started out really well but I think I need to train a little bit harder. I'll get ready for outdoors and it will be a different story. I'll take this as a prelude as to what can happen outdoors this year.

MARY DANNER (women's 4x400m): It was very exciting to get there in the competition. The crowd was pumping me up and my teammates ran well and we wanted to get a medal and we did.

For more information on the 2006 World Indoor Track & Field Championships, visit www.usatf.org.