Aug. 31, 2007
OSAKA, Japan -
Former Auburn track and field All-American Maurice Smith leads the decathlon at the midway point at the IAAF World Championships. Smith finished first or second and set personal or season bests in three of five events Friday to score 4525 points.
Smith, who already claimed the decathlon title at the Pan American Games earlier this summer, leads Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan by 86 points, and Roman Šebrle of Czechoslovakia by 91 points with five events remaining.
Smith, competing for Jamaica, started his day by clocking a personal-best time of 10.62 seconds in the 100m, which was the second-best mark in the field. He followed that with a season-best mark of 7.50m in the long jump, which ranked fourth in the field. He topped the field with a throw of 17.32m in the shot put, moving him into first place ahead of American Bryan Clay.
After recording a mark of 1.97m in the high jump, Smith concluded his day with a personal-best time of 47.48 in the 400m, which ranked second in the field, to extend his lead and give him a personal-best point total after one day.
"I think I'm in the best shape of my life right now," said Smith. "The fact that we came to Japan two weeks before the championships really helped. But also my coach Jerry Clayton is here with me. In the past he couldn't travel due to his university responsibilities. I didn't really have a point target so far, but I guess I've surpassed my expectations. I was more prepared for the 400m than any other event. Hopefully, I can maximize my score in the hurdles and the discus tomorrow."
The second day of competition in the decathlon will begin Saturday morning.
One other former Auburn track and field athlete was in action Friday, as Avard Moncur competed in the finals of the men's 400m. Moncur, who won the world championship in 2001, finished eighth with a time of 45.40 while competing for the Bahamas.
Action at the IAAF World Championships continues through Sunday. For complete coverage, visit www.iaaf.org.