Aug 1, 2008

Sport - Clay poised to become world's best

Decathlon likely to be an American affair in Beijing
Bryan Clay was an angry youngster a few years ago. His parents were divorced which made life very difficult at home.
The gloomy life upset him very much. He got into fights almost every day, threatened teachers, skipped classes and was suspended from school quite a few times.
His mother often thought her son would slowly slip into the world of crime.
The wayward Clay is now stunningly poised to become the world’s greatest athlete. Big favourite
The 28-year-old, whose mother is Japanese and father African-American, is a huge favourite to win the decathlon gold at the Beijing Olympics after collecting a stunning 8,832 points at the recent US Olympic Trials.
It made him the sixth best decathlete in history. Nobody has come up with such a big one in nearly four years.
True, Czech Republic’s Roman Sebrle, the defending Olympic and World champion, is the only man to carry the world record past the 9,000-point mark. But that was more than seven years ago and the 33-year-old is now struggling through an injury-packed season. As for the others…well, they are far behind this season.
Clay’s stunning series in the 10-eventer at the US Trials included a 10.39-sec 100m, 13.75-sec high hurdles, 2.09m high jump and a 52.74m discus throw.Confident
After pulling out midway through last year’s World Championship with an injury, the 2004 Athens Olympic silver medallist is now hungry for gold and in fine touch too.
“If I can do what I do in practice every day, I can break the world record (Sebrle’s 9,026), win a gold medal and quite possibly go down as the greatest decathlete in history,” said the 2005 outdoor World champion who won the indoor World heptathlon gold this year.
And the presence of the experienced Tom Pappas and the young Trey Hardee — both come in the top four in the world list this year — is likely to make the decathlon an American affair in Beijing.
At 5’ 11”, Clay is among the shortest decathletes on the world circuit but surprisingly, that has not been a hurdle for the sport’s big fighter.

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