When the 11th World Indoor Championships start in Moscow on Friday, it will be seven months to the day since Bryan Clay, of the USA, achieved revenge. Friendly revenge it may have been, but it was a triumph at last over an old adversary as he became World Decathlon champion by defeating Roman Sebrle, of the Czech Republic, who had beaten him to gold at the Olympic Games, in Athens, the previous summer and in Budapest, at the last IAAF World Indoor Championships. In Moscow, it should be a spectacular re-match.
The top six finallists from the tremendous battles of Helsinki are here, with Clay, 26, seeking his first major indoor honour. He will bring that determination to Moscow where he meets arguably the greatest of all indoor heptathletes in Sebrle, 31, who has never failed to make the podium at these championships.
The four athletes who finished behind them in Helsinki help sprinkle this heptathlon with stardust. Attila Zsivoczky, of Hungary, was third in Finland, Andre Niklaus, of Germany, was fourth, Russia’s Aleksandr Pogorelov was fifth while Estonian Kristjan Rahnu was sixth.
The men’s field is made up by two more Russians, Aleksei Drozdov and Konstantin Smirnov, with the eight participants for each of the two disciplines in Moscow constructed around four athletes from the current indoor season’s world top-10 and four from the 2005 outdoor world top-10 list.
It is why the presence of Pogorelov and Drozdow makes the event so intriguing. They lead the world indoor standings this winter with 6229 and 6225 points respectively and on home soil, will be looking for gold perhaps more than ever.