Athletics: Macey the new People's Daley

Britain has unearthed a decathlete capable of matching Thompson's achievements.

AN INSPIRED 1500 metres run in the tenth and final event of his competition brought Britain's Dean Macey the extraordinary and unexpected reward of a decathlon silver medal here last night.

The 21-year-old from Canvey Island dragged a sub-60 second final lap from his weary limbs to achieve his sixth personal best of the competition and overhaul the American Chris Huffins as runner-up to the world record holder, Tomas Dvorak of the Czech Republic. It was the first major medal for Britain in this event since the retirement of a certain former world and Olympic champion - Daley Thompson.

Macey, whose main target for the season had been a medal at the European under-23 championships, finished with a new personal best total of 8556 points, with Dvorak scoring 8,744.

As he had staggered with exhaustion at the end of the metric mile, Macey recalled how team mates had called out to him that he had moved up from bronze to silver position.

"I didn't know whether to be sick, cry or just pass out," he said, before describing the effect his sudden rise to prominence had had on his rivals.

"I scared them and showed them that there was someone from Great Britain who was going to be the business again."

He added: "This was the World Junior Championships re-lived, but with a bigger score and on a bigger stage and a sweeter personal victory."

In the course of the competition, Macey had overcome - or just plain ignored - injuries to his elbow, hamstring and ankle, as well as recovering his nerve after his pole snapped while he was vaulting at 4.20 metres. He went on to set a new personal mark of 4.60m. Other personal improvements came in the 100m, the 400m, the 110m hurdles, the javelin and the 1500m.

Following Thompson's reluctant retirement in 1992 the event has moved on to the point where two men have beaten the world record of 8,847 points he set in winning at the 1984 Olympics. But - until the ebullient arrival of this 6ft 5in, 151/2 stone, bleach-blond Essex boy - no Briton has looked capable of competing at the highest level.

Having scored 8,347 points in May - putting himself second on the all- time British list - Macey was clear about his ambitions here: "I want to go out there and mix it with the big boys. I want to show a few people there's a new kid on the block."

His attitude, as much as his deeds in the two days of competition which concluded here night have convinced more than a few people that Britain has a new edition of the People's Daley.

When he spoke lightly about how he took pleasure in winding his opponents up whenever he came across them outside the confines of the competition, there was another Thompsonian flashback.

Daley delighted in psyching his opponents out. And then he would beat them.

"My ambition is to break Daley Thompson's British record."

Macey's attitude has already received a seal of approval from Thompson, who has been advising the Estonian decathlete, Erki Nool, here as well as commenting for BBC TV. "Dean is showing he's a great competitor, and it's all about competition," Thompson said.

Back home in Canvey Island, where Macey lives in a three-bedroom semi with his parents, Alan and Patricia, his 20-year-old sister Marie and his 13-year-old brother Adam - with whom he shares a room - there has been sleepless excitement.

His parents could afford either to watch him at last month's European under-23 championships in Gothenburg - where a fall in the hurdles put him out of contention - or here. "We chose the wrong one," his father said.

As a youngster, Macey played in the same youth side as West Ham's Frank Lampard and had trials with Arsenal. But he does not regret the choice he has now made. "I want to be the best decathlete in the world," he says of his decision. "Footballers can't say that. Only decathletes can say that."

On last night's evidence he is well on his way to his ambition.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home