A sensational summer for decathlete Damian Warner has reached its climax with a World Championship silver medal in Beijing on Saturday.
Warner followed up his Pan Am Games decathlon gold medal (which included a meet and Canadian record) with hardware on a more competitive stage, improving his own national standard set only last month by 36 with 8695 points.
Ashton Eaton of the United States won gold with world record-breaking 9045 points, while the bronze medal went to Rico Freimuth from Germany with 8561. Warner improved upon the world bronze he won two years ago in Moscow.
“I’m thrilled,” Warner said. “I finished third in 2013, came back here and finished second. I’m slowly climbing up that ladder. Hopefully come next year and World Championships in 2017 I’ll be able to say I’m a gold medallist. Unfortunately it wasn’t here, but the guy who beat me broke the world record so I can’t complain too much.”
The points breakdown for Warner in Beijing is as follows: 100m (10.31 seconds, 1020 points); long jump (7.65 metres, 972); shot put (14.44m, 755); high jump (2.04m, 840); 400m (47.30s, 943); 110m hurdles (13.63s, 1023); discus (44.99m, 767); pole vault (4.80m, 849); javelin (63.50m, 791); 1500m (4:31.51, 735).
“It was just a regular old decathalon, ups and downs, it’s really how you manage that and I thought I managed it fairly well. When I had an event that didn’t go very well I came back and had an event that was strong.”
Warner set personal bests in the long jump, shot put and pole vault. Although he says he has much to improve on in some technical elements.
“I think as a decathlete I’m growing and improving, I just can’t wait until next year and the future.”
This was Warner’s third decathlon this year, most athletes don’t compete in more than one given the strength, energy and focus required to master 10 events. Warner is understandably satisfied with the season and believes he is also improving psychologically, not just physically.
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“I think all these guys here that are competing at the world championships are extremely good athletes, and it really takes that mental fortitude to really push through.”
Going back to the ‘future,’ for Warner that includes a look ahed to the Olympic Games in 2016. That may bring about another clash with Eaton, who worked extremely hard to run a spectacular 1500 metres to close his day in world record fashion.
“Ashton, as you saw, in that 1500 really pushed through and got the world record, so as an athlete myself, I watch him and it really inspires me to pursue great things.”
“Hopefully come next year and the year after that I’ll be able to come here and really compete with Ashton.”
For Athletics Canada, Warner’s was its sixth medal at the world championships – a new record. A seventh medal arrived later in the men’s 4x100m relay where USA disqualification put Canada on the podium.
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