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TRACK AND FIELD

Pappas Records Upset in Decathlon

August 28, 2003|Randy Harvey

PARIS — Add one more to the long list of U.S. decathlon champions. Tom Pappas of Knoxville, Tenn., became one Wednesday night at Stade de France, prevailing in the two-day, 10-event competition at the track and field world championships.

Pappas, a three-time U.S. champion, scored 8,750 points, upsetting world-record holder Roman Sebrle of Czech Republic, who finished with 8,634.

"My confidence is going to be great going to Athens," Pappas, who is of Greek descent, said of next summer's Olympics.

Pappas was concerned that he might be overtaken in the last two events, the javelin throw and the 1,500 meters, which are not his best. But he built a 238-point lead through the eighth event, the pole vault, and was able to relax, even though Sebrle would make up 122 points before the grueling competition ended.

Pappas collapsed into the arms of a teammate at the end of the 1,500. Sebrle collapsed to the ground.

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In other finals before a crowd of 56,928, the stadium capacity for track and field, Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco won his fourth consecutive world championship in the 1,500 in a time of 3:31.77. More surprising was the victory in the women's 100 hurdles by Perdita Felicien, a Canadian who ran for the University of Illinois. She finished in 12.53 seconds. Jamaica's Brigitte Foster was second in 12.57; Miesha McKelvy, who went to Gahr High in Cerritos, was third in 12.57.

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In the "You can't quit, you're fired," department: U.S. sprinter Jon Drummond was suspended from the remainder of the meet Wednesday by the IAAF, 24 hours after he had withdrawn.

-- Randy Harvey

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