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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 25, 2009

Clay questionable for national meet


By EDDIE PELLS
Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Bryan Clay

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EUGENE, Ore. Olympic decathlon champion Bryan Clay injured his left hamstring while practicing for the U.S. track championships and says he's questionable for the start of the meet today.

The Castle High alum said he'll warm up before the first event and then decide whether he can compete in the sport's most grueling event. He hurt himself Tuesday during a light practice.

"If this were a week ago, or 10 days ago, it's no big deal," he said. "But it happened two days before and I can't work magic."

If Clay can't go, it will have repercussions beyond this week.

Only the top three finishers at the nationals can advance to the world championships in August, and Clay's Olympic title last year does not earn him an automatic spot. Defending champions from the 2007 worlds do earn wild-card spots in the 2009 worlds, but Clay withdrew from that decathlon with an injury while he was in second place.

"I've been talking about it all year with my coaches, saying I wish I didn't have to train for U.S. championships, I wish I could just be training for worlds," Clay said.

Regardless of whether he can go this week, Clay said he's committed to trying to make the 2012 Olympic team and try to become the first decathlete to win medals in three straight Olympics. He won silver in 2004.

This week reminds him, however, that a decathlete can never look too far ahead because of the big role injuries and exhaustion play.

"You're always straddling the line between doing too much and not doing enough," Clay said. "You're flirting with the line of overtraining and not training as hard as you can and either one can get you in trouble."