Damian Warner wins Canadian decathlon running away

Monday, June 24, 2013

Olympian Damian Warner easily wins the Canadian decathlon title in Moncton, N.B., and now heads to Moscow for tougher competition at the worlds.

The mile isn’t actually a decathlon event, but that’s about what Damian Warner won the Canadian championships by on Friday in Moncton, N.B.

Warner jogged across the finish line in the final 1,500-metre event nearly 900 points ahead of his closest challenger, Ottawa’s Patrick Arbour.

“What a difference a year makes,” said Warner’s coach, Gar Leyshon. “Last year, it was nerve-wracking, emotional and it came down to the very last event.”

In 2012, Warner and former Commonwealth champion Jamie Adjetey-Nelson were fighting for a single berth to the Olympics. Warner won the nationals and went on to finish fifth at the London Games.

“This year, there was no question of Damian not winning. He could have won without running the 1,500 – and believe me, he would have liked to,” said Leyshon, referring to the final event that all decathletes dread.

Warner’s next stop – the championships IAAF world championships in Moscow in August – won’t be nearly so easy.

That’s where the 23-year-old London, Ont., native will face Olympic gold medallist Ashton Eaton and the rest of top international athletes in this gruelling 2-day event.

For Warner, ranked third in the world, the Canadian track and field championships was about punching his ticket to Moscow, getting another full decathlon under his belt and, hopefully, working out the kinks in a few events.

“I tried some new things and they didn’t work out too well,” Warner said of the discus event. “But overall I’m pretty happy with how it went.”

Warner has skyrocketed through the international rankings, but the Moncton event is still only his 12th career decathlon.

“It seems like it was just yesterday when we started.”

Toronto Star - Kerry Gillespie, Sports Reporter

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