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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, February 28, 2010

Clay focuses on USA meet in tsunami's aftermath


By ELLIOTT DENMAN
Special to The Advertiser

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Bryan Clay

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Bryan Clay breathed double sighs of relief.

Early yesterday, he learned that his mother, other family members and friends were out of harm's way as the tsunami hit Hawai'i.

Only then could he focus on his twin assignments at the USA Indoor National Track and Field Championships, the meet that is serving as his final warmup for the IAAF World Indoor Championships coming to Doha, Qatar, March 12 to 14.

"Everybody's fine. My mom's house is in the middle of the island (Mililani)," said the 2008 Olympic decathlon champion, out of Castle High School and Azusa Pacific University. "She's OK, my cousins are OK, my other relatives and friends, they're all OK, too.

"Some of them had to evacuate, I'm not exactly sure how many. Hawai'i knows how to deal with things. We've had our share of hurricanes, and a lot more. We're resilient, we know we can deal with it."

Clay is a master of resiliency, too. After he'd bowed out of the decathlon at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka with a hamstring injury incurred high jumping he bounced back to win the decathlon gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

He impressed yesterday with a solid 7.71-second clocking in his quarterfinal race of the 60-meter high hurdles, advancing to today's 16-man semifinals. He was ninth fastest of the 16 who moved into the semis.

Clay also moved into today's semis of the 60-meter dash, running a 6.70 to rank 12th of the 16 who advanced.

"All in all, it was a pretty good day," said Clay. "One meet at a time; Doha's still two weeks away. I'll do fine there."

Clay and Trey Hardee will represent the USA in the heptathlon in Doha. The seven-event test has a 60-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump on the first day; a 60-meter dash, pole vault and 1,000-meter run on the next.

"That's a pretty good team, the Olympic champion and the (2009) world champion (Hardee)," said Clay. "Expect good things."