TOKYO: Canada’s Damian Warner produced two days of consistent excellence to win the men’s Olympic decathlon gold today.
Warner finished the 10-discipline, two-day event with 9,018 points, with France’s world record holder Kevin Mayer doing well to battle back for silver with 8,726 points.
Australian Ashley Moloney claimed bronze on 8,649 points.
Warner had ended the first day of the Olympic decathlon yesterday in top spot, with the fancied Mayer in fifth after complaining of back problems.
Warner, 31, is a seasoned campaigner, having finished in the top five at the past six outdoor global championships, picking up Olympic bronze in 2016 as well as world silver in 2015 and world bronze in 2013 and 2019.
At a baking hot Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium yesterday, he opened up with a startling world decathlon best of 10.12s in the 100m before soaring out to 8.24m in the long jump – enough to have won him bronze in the individual event.
Warner then registered 14.80m in the shot put and 2.02m in the high jump, and ran 47.48s in the final event of the day, the 400m, for the overnight lead ahead of Moloney and Canadian Pierce Lepage, with Mayer fifth.
Warner opened up the second day of action with an Olympic decathlon best of 13.46s in the 110m hurdles before a credible 48.67m in the discus and 4.90m in the pole vault.
Mayer, who won silver behind then world record holder Ashton Eaton at the Rio Olympics, went into the penultimate event, the javelin, in fourth spot and was able to claw back some valuable points with a massive personal best of 73.09m on his second throw.
Warner managed 63.44m, but Mayer moved back into second place on 8,066 points, 214 behind the Canadian.
Warner went into the 1,500m, the final event, knowing he had to run 4:33.80s to break the 9,000-point barrier.
Mayer, the world record holder with 9,126 points, didn’t have quite enough to threaten the Canadian in the final 1500m.
Warner dug deep to somehow find enough energy to produce a last sprint finish for fifth place, 12s ahead of the Frenchman.
His time of 4:31.08s ensured a memorable points finish and, finally, a first gold at a global championships.
Notable casualties over the gruelling two-day event included Germany’s world champion Niklas Kaul, who pulled up injured in the 400m, and Belgium’s former European champion Thomas van der Plaetsen, who withdrew after injuring himself in the long jump.