Clay captures world indoor heptathlon
BY RAF CASERT
DOHA, Qatar — Hawai'i's Bryan Clay defended his world indoor heptathlon title yesterday, defeating teammate Trey Hardee and Russia's Aleksey Drozdov.
Clay, a Castle High alum, finished last in the 1,000 meters in the final event, but was fast enough to maintain the points advantage. He finished the seven events with 6,204 points, 20 ahead of outdoor world champion Hardee. Drozdov had 6,141 for bronze.
Clay needed a big final lap to finish in 2 minutes 50.28 seconds, just 2.52 seconds behind Hardee, who placed sixth in the event to close the final points gap from 46 to 20.
Clay admitted he was running on empty late in the race.
"The last few years, I've barely broke 3 minutes in the 1,000," he said. "I didn't make it easy on myself in the last two days. I had a lot of attempts in things that I shouldn't have attempts at. So my legs were pretty tired, pretty fried."
Hardee said he knew Clay had won the moment he crossed the line, looked back and saw the Olympic decathlon champion less than three seconds behind him. Still, he was satisfied with silver in his first world indoors.
"I was happy. I was just running to keep my lead," Hardee said.
Earlier in the day, Hardee won the 60-meter hurdles in 7.79 seconds with Clay a close second in 8.00. At that point Clay had 4,531 points to Hardee's 4,485.
Clay then finished second and Hardee third in the pole vault, which was won by Andrei Krauchanka of Belarus, although all cleared 5.00 meters to each score 910 points. That left Clay with 5,441 points and Hardee with 5,395 entering the 1,000-meter run.
In the women's pentathlon, Britain's Jessica Ennis led from start to finish to take gold ahead of Olympic champion Natallia Dobrynska and Russia's Tatyana Chernova.
Ennis, the outdoor heptathlon world champion, finished with a championship record of 4,937 points, while Dobrynska set a Ukrainian record of 4,851. U.S. athlete Hyleas Fountain set a North American record of 4,753 in fourth.