Canadian Damian Warner ends world decathlon medal drought

Damian Warner of Canada celebrates finishing third in the men's decathlon during the IAAF World...

Damian Warner of Canada celebrates finishing third in the men's decathlon during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow August 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:08 PM ET

Move over Mike Smith, there’s a new Canadian decathlon star in the making.

Damian Warner of London, Ont., won the bronze medal in the decathlon Sunday at the world track and field championships in Moscow, the first medal of any sort by a Canadian at this year’s world meet.

Warner, who clinched the bronze with a 10th-place finish in the 1,500-metres, is also the first Canadian decathlete to win a medal at the worlds since Smith snatched the bronze at the 1995 event in Gothenburg.

“I said (Saturday) I wasn’t happy with my first day, said I was going to come out swinging today and that’s what I did,” Warner said.

After finishing the first day of competition in fourth place, Warner jumped one spot thanks to a third-place showing in the javelin, the second-last event in decathlon. He finished with 8,512 points, a personal best.

Ashton Eaton of the United States, the world-record holder, won gold with 8.809 points while Michael Schrader of Germany took the silver with 8,670 points.

Eaton cemented his position as the world’s greatest athlete by winning the title, completing a spectacular hat-trick after having won Olympic gold and broken the world record last year.

Eaton led from the first event on Saturday morning when he laid down a marker with a 10.35-seconds in the 100m, completing the first day with the fastest 400m ever run in a decathlon world championships after having been given a dressing down by his coach for “lacking motivation.” He poured on the pressure Sunday with impressive performances in the pole vault and javelin to open a virtually unassailable lead.

“I needed that third javelin throw to secure a solid victory I think,” Eaton said after he had been heavily pressured by Schrader in the penultimate event. “They’re all great competitors and when you come across that finish line it’s nothing but friends and accomplishments.

“I can just relax now, there’s certainly no thought of retirement, maybe I can just keep trying to improve and maybe score 9,000 points again.”

The second day’s action began in a surreal atmosphere with just a few hundred fans dotted around the vast 81,000-capacity stadium.

After his mental wanderings on Saturday, Eaton’s focus was spot on, however. Starting the day with a nine-point lead over 20-year-old compatriot Gunnar Nixon, who faded back to finish 13th, he immediately extended it in the 110m hurdles where he recovered from clattering the second barrier to run 13.72.

Eaton showed his big-event temperament to hit 64.83 with his final javelin throw, earning an overall lead of 168 points, equivalent to around 20 seconds over 1,500 metres. On a humid night Eaton tucked in safely behind the German to finish in 4:29.80 before just about mustering the energy to wave to the crowd.

— with files from Sun wire services


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