Track and Field

Damian Warner leads at midway point of men's decathlon at Hypo Meeting

Canada's Damian Warner is on track to capture the fourth Hypo Meeting title of his decathlon career, holding a 218-point lead over 2017 world bronze medallist Kai Kazmirek of Germany midway through the two-day competition in Götzis, Austria.

3-time champion, 2016 Olympic bronze medallist will carry 218-point lead into Sunday

Three-time Hypo Meeting champion Damian Warner of London, Ont., threw 14.83 metres in Saturday’s shot put at the two-day competition in Gotzis, Austria. First after five events, the defending champion is attempting to join Roman Sebrle, Carolina Kluft and Sabine Braun with four titles. (Ian Walton/Getty Images/File)

Damian Warner is sticking to his promise for a rebound performance following a disappointing Commonwealth Games in April.

The London, Ont., native is on track to capture the fourth Hypo Meeting title of his decathlon career, holding a 218-point lead over Germany's Kai Kazmirek midway through the two-day competition in Götzis, Austria. Estonia's Maicel Uibo, who earned a bronze medal at the world indoor championships in March, sits in third spot, 270 points back of Warner.

Warner, 28, wasted little time gaining the upper hand Saturday on the field of 28 with first-place finishes in the 100 metres (10.31 seconds) and long jump (7.81 metres). He was ninth in shot put with a throw of 14.83m before Kazmirek made up ground on the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist in high jump and 400.

Warner's high jump measured 2.03 before he clocked 47.72 in the 400, trailing only Kazmirek (47.27), who won the 2015 Hypo Meeting and a bronze medal at last year's world championships.

Athletics Wrap: Damian Warner bows out, Pierce LePage wins decathlon silver

5 years ago
Duration 2:49
Warner withdrew from the competition after unexpectedly failing to record a height in the pole vault event of the men's decathlon

Warner will carry a total of 4,565 points into the final five disciplines on Sunday: 100 hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw and 1,500. Kazmirek and Uibo follow at 4,347 and 4,295, respectively.

The Calgary resident failed to defend his decathlon title last month at the Commonwealth Games, pulling out of the competition when he dropped to sixth spot from first place after missing three attempts at 4.50 metres in pole vault and not clearing a height. Before Commonwealth, he told CBC Sports he believed he had made strides in the event over the previous six months.

"[I'm] not really sure what happened," Warner wrote in an Instagram post after Commonwealth Games while his coach, Les Gramantik, wondered if "a bit of anxiety" played a part. "I promise to learn from this and do my best to make sure this doesn't happen again."

Damian Warner dropped out of the men's decathlon at the Commonwealth Games last month when he failed to clear a height in pole vault after three missed attempts at 4.50 metres. He will look to redeem himself Sunday at the Hypo Meeting in Austria, where he cleared 4.70 at last year’s event. (Dita Alangkara/Associated Press-Dita/Canadian Press)

Warner was coming off a second-place heptathlon performance at the world indoor championships in Birmingham, England, where he scored 6,343 points to break Michael Smith's 25-year-old Canadian record and lost by five points to Kevin Mayer of France.

Warner will get a chance to redeem himself Sunday. He cleared 4.70 in pole vault at the 2017 Hypo Meeting and has a personal best of 4.90.

The Canadian was fifth in decathlon at last year's world track and field championships in London, England, after being slowed by a stomach bug.

Golden at Decastar

Warner noted it's mentally exhausting not being able to compete at an expected level, but he has learned to have a short-term memory.

"When I first started decathlon, if I didn't have a good even, it was a snowball effect," he said. "But having done so many decathlons, you can move on and improve from bad performances."

Warner didn't want his 2017 season to end with the disappointment at worlds, so he entered the Decastar in Talence, France, in mid-September and won gold with 8,252 points.

Warner broke through on the international scene as a decathlete in 2012 with a fifth-place effort in his Olympic debut at London, the second-best Summer Games finish ever by a Canadian decathlete. He also won bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio for Canada's first Olympic medal in the event since 1988.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

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