Sept. 1, 2007
OSAKA, Japan -
Former Auburn track and field All-American Maurice Smith came up just short in his bid to win the world title in the decathlon, taking the silver medal at the IAAF World Championships Saturday. Smith finished with a Jamaican national record point total of 8,644, but came up just 32 points shy of Olympic champion and world-record holder Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic.
"I feel so proud of my performance," said Smith. "I came here to Osaka prepared to win a medal. I really surprised myself with the overall results. I feel like a winner."
Smith entered the second day of the decathlon with an 86-point lead on Sebrle. In the opening event, Smith clocked a time of 13.91 seconds in the 110m hurdles, which topped the field, to widen his lead to 101 points. He again had the best mark in the field in the discus, posting a mark of 52.36m, increasing his lead to 172 points.
Smith's personal-best mark of 4.80m in the pole vault dropped his lead to 111 points over Dmitry Karpov of Kazkstan, while Sebrle was still 221 points back. But in the javelin, Sebrle's lifetime-best mark of 71.18m earned him 907 points, which was 265 more than Smith scored with his mark of 53.61m.
"With the injury at my elbow - a partial tear - I was not surprised (at my mark in the javelin) because I was prepared. So I expected that bad result. But I will fix that until Beijing."
Smith made up some of the 44-point gap in the final event - the 1500m - with a season-best time of 4:33.52. But Smith needed to finish nearly six seconds ahead of Sebrle, and his mark was less than two seconds better than Sebrle's time of 4:35.32 as Sebrle ended up with the gold. Karpov finished third with 8586 points.
"After my performance on the first day, I knew that a gold medal was in the game," said Smith. "But after the javelin, I was sure that it would come to the 1500 meters to decide about the gold."
Another former Tiger earned a silver medal Saturday, as Kerron Stewart helped the Jamaican 4x100m relay team finish a close second to the United States. Stewart ran the second leg in both the semifinals and the finals, first helping her team to time of 42.70 in the semis, before an exciting finish in the finals left her group with a time of 42.01, just .03 seconds behind the American squad.
For more information on the IAAF World Championships visit www.iaaf.org.