© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated
Damian Warner earned gold today at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games by breaking the Canadian and Pan American Games decathlon record with his 8659 point performance. Along the way he had personal best in four different events including the final 1500-metre run as well as the 100m, long jump and discus throw.
The 25-year-old London, Ontario native took down Mike Smith’s 1996 record during the final event of the two day competition, which was the 1500m. He won it in the time of 4:24.73.
In the first event of the decathlon, he raced to a win in the time of 10.28 in the 100m sprint during heat number 2. Forty-three minutes later he set his second consecutive personal best and won his second event, this time in the long jump by going the distance of 7.68m. He was off to a roaring start, but then entered the shotput competition, not his strongest discipline, but finished a respectable eighth position earning 750 points with his put of 14.36m only 54 points behind shot put winner Felix Kurt who finished 147 points behind in the 100m sprint with his time of 10.91 for last in heat number 2, although his long jump was more competitive, but he was nearly 182 points behind by this time.
Kurt who represents Grenada started to make things interesting by gaining 111 points on Warner in the high jump competition going 2.09m to Warner’s 1.97m. Only 17 points separated the two after four of 10 events. Also in the mix at this time was Felix Dos Santos with 3519 points.
Warner crushed the 400m sprint, winning his heat in the time of 47.66 over Brazilian Dos Santos and Rodrigo Sagaon of Mexico, who was now over 700 points down on Warner.
Warner is an excellent 110m hurdler for a decathlete. He won that race in the time of 13.44, over half a second better than second place, which is an eternity in this sprint. He then finished third in the discus, sixth in the javelin, but the competition was basically over by this time. All Warner had to do for his final event was run an epic 1500m and that is what he did for the win.
He also owns a gold medal from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and bronze at the 2013 Moscow IAAF World Track and Field Championships. Today’s performance was the 80th highest point total in history.
The women’s 10,000m turned out to be an exciting race as Canadian marathon record holder Lanni Marchant stayed with the leaders through 24 of 25 laps and hung on during a fast final lap to take the bronze medal behind American Desiree Daliva and winner Brenda Flores. The Mexican also won the 5,000m two days before. Flores set the Pan American Games record with her 32:41.33 performance.
Flores stayed behind Davila until there was just 100m to go, and then unleashed a powerful kick that Davila had no answer for. Davila finished in 32:43.99, while Marchant crossed the line in 32:46.03.
Natasha Wodak with the number one seed time on the season was favoured for a medal and a potential win, but did not have the day she was hoping for. She finished a respectable seventh, with a late race fade to finish in the time of 33:20.14. Wodak set the national record on May 2, 2015 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in a stunning 31:41.59.
During four heats with a total of 29 athletes in the 200m sprint, Canada’s golden boy of sprinting, Andre De Grasse, who two days earlier won 100m gold, ran the fastest 200m in the initial heats with his 20.17 performance. He later qualified for the finals during the semis with his third place 20.12 result. To win a medal tomorrow, he may have to run a new personal best time. De Grasse owns the Canadian 200m record with his 2015 performance of 20.03, which ties the legendary Wallace Spearmon’s season best. They are up against Jamaica’s Rasheed Wallace who has run as fast as 19.80 this season. Alonso Edward of Panama has also run 20:03 this season and owns a 19.81 personal best.
During the women’s 200m heats Kimberly Hyacinthe qualified for the semi-finals with her third place finish in heat number 3 with her performance of 23:30. Canada’s Raquel Tjernagel also qualified by finishing in fifth place in the time of 23.63 in heat number 1, however, only Hyacinthe moved onto the finals scheduled for tomorrow with a fourth place finish in the time of 22.81.
Full schedule of events is located here.