Canada's Damian Warner races to decathlon bronze at track and field worlds
Germany's Niklas Kaul becomes youngest world champion ever at 21
Canada's Damian Warner hung on to win bronze in the men's decathlon at the track and field world championships on Thursday in Doha, Qatar.
The London, Ont., native held second place entering the 1,500-metre races — the final event. But Warner, who ran out to an early lead, faded down the stretch and finished the race ninth at four minutes, 40.77 seconds.
Still, it was enough for the 29-year-old to snag bronze.
Germany's Niklas Kaul became the youngest decathlon medallist ever at the world championships, winning gold at 21 years old. Kaul finished the decathlon strong with a 79.05 metre javelin toss before cruising to a 1,500 victory in a season-best time of 4:15.70.
WATCH | Warner wins bronze:
Kaul, who entered the meet ranked No. 8, won with 8,691 points, ahead of Estonia's Maicel Uibo — the husband of world 400 silver medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo — with 8,604 and Warner at 8,529.
Canadian Pierce LePage, who held a slight lead with two event remaining, slipped off the podium into fifth place at 8,445. He was 14th in the javelin and 15th in the 1,500.
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Warner's bronze marked his third career medal at worlds after he took silver in 2015 and bronze in 2013. Warner also won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"It helps that it's another medal for Canada, but it is a little bit disappointing," said Warner. "These last six weeks leading up to this decathlon [have] been a bit rough for many reasons, but I'm happy that the season's over and I can regroup and get ready for the big push next year [ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics]."
WATCH | Warner looks ahead following another podium finish at worlds:
Warner and LePage were both in the podium mix throughout all 10 events. LePage, of Toronto, held a slim lead heading into the final two events, but he couldn't keep pace despite a season-best javelin toss.
"It went better than Day 1, so I'm happy about that," LePage said. "Obviously a bit frustrated because of so many things that could've gone much better, but it's my first world championships, so what can you do. My experience with this decathlon showed a lot about my perseverance and character."
WATCH | LePage happy with worlds debut:
Missing from the list of competitors was the defending champion, and the leader after the seventh event, Kevin Mayer of France.
Mayer twice attempted a run down the track to attempt the pole vault, but pulled up short both times, eventually forcing him to pull out of the event entirely with injuries to his hamstring and Achilles tendon.
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Canada now has five medals — one silver and four bronze — at the worlds with three days to go.
Canada's top showing at the worlds came in 2015 when the country won eight medals in Beijing (two gold, three silver, three bronze).
With files from The Canadian Press