Damian Warner tops his Canadian decathlon record to win Hypo Meeting
Earns world-leading 8,995 points in Austria to become 1st person with 6 event titles
Damian Warner shattered his Canadian record in the decathlon Sunday with one of the strongest performances of all-time.
The 31-year-old from London, Ont., scored 8,995 points to win the Hypo Meeting, becoming the first person to win six titles in the prestigious event in Götzis, Austria.
His previous national record was 8,795 points set in this event in 2018.
Pierce LePage, of Whitby, Ont., was second overall with 8,534 points.
"To get another win means a lot," Warner told the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation. "It's unfortunate I was five points off the magical 9,000 barrier but I had some really good results this weekend.
"[Going] two years without competition and scoring 8,995, I'm proud of myself."
Warner was attempting to become just the fourth decathlete in history to top the 9,000-point barrier. The others were Kevin Mayer of France (9,126), American Ashton Eaton (9,045), and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic (9,026).
"There's a reason why only three guys have ever scored 9,000 points," Warner said. "It's not something that happens every single day or happens every single decathlon no matter how great you are.
"It's something that just happens, and you have to go out there and you have to execute in each one of the events. And when you're in position to get it, you got to take it in. Unfortunately, I had a ripe opportunity and I kind of let it pass me by, but I gave it my all and my legs are feeling it now."
His total was the fourth-highest in history.
By comparison, Belgium's Niels Pittomvils registered 780 points after a throw of 62.77.
"I can't be too picky," Warner said, "but I let myself down in the shot put and javelin and didn't execute how I wanted, but everything else was really good. I gave it my all in the 1,500 metres and my legs are feeling it now. I'm proud of my coaches for getting me ready for this event."
Warner wasn't expecting the Hypo Meeting as his season opener and believed he wasn't mentally ready for this high level of competition "but I'm in great shape and finished this decathlon healthy."
The world's top-ranked men's decathlete feels he has set the bar for the Tokyo Olympics in July. It will represent his third Summer Games, highlighted by a bronze medal performance five years ago in Rio.
"I just have to improve on the events that let me down [this weekend] and I'm ready to compete," he said.
Near 2-year absence from competition
Warner's performance is remarkable considering the roller-coaster year he's had amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This weekend was Warner's first decathlon since the 2019 world championships.
WATCH | Warner claims world best, Canadian record in long jump:
He'd said the forced break for the pandemic had a silver lining in that he was able to heal a couple of ankle injuries.
But Warner will have to wait to see them in person as he will quarantine for 14 days upon his return to Canada.
"I'm really excited to give them a hug and kisses and see [Theo] again. It's exciting," he said.
WATCH | Warner details intricacies of decathlon:
With files from CBC Sports