Moscow – Damian Warner of London, Ont., won bronze today at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship. Warner finished the ten-event decathlon with a personal best score of 8512 points to earn the bronze medal, Canada’s first at this championship. Other Canadian highlights on day two of competition included Inaki Gomez of Vancouver, B.C., placing eight in the men’s 20-kilometre race walk with a seasonal best of 1:22:21. Nicole Sifuentes of Winnipeg, Man., and Kate Van Buskirk of Toronto, Ont., advanced to the semis of the women’s 1500-metres.
“I said yesterday I wasn’t happy with my first day, and that I was going to come out here swinging today, that’s just what I did,” said a jubilant Warner. “I stuck with it, I was motivated to get on the podium and I just let that carry me through the events. This is such a great feeling, all the hard work my coachs and I put into this the last couple of years. In 2011 I finished 18th, saw the three medalists running around the track with their country’s flags draped over their shoulders, I told my coaches that I want that to be me, pretty special feeling to achieve that.”
Warner hopes this will inspire his teammates through the rest of the championship, “I hope this motivates the rest of the team.”
Damian Warner opened day two of the decathlon with a time of 13.96 seconds in the 110-metre hurdles to score 980 points. In the discus he recorded a seasonal best of 44.13-metres to score 749 points, then leaped to a personal best of 4.80-metres in the pole vault for 849 points. He also set a personal best of 64.67-metres for 808 points in the javelin to put him in the bronze medal position after nine of ten events. He secured bronze with a seasonal best of 4:29.97 in the 1500-metres. Canada’s last World Championship decathlon medal was by Michael Smith in 1995 (Gothenburg, Sweden).
Gomez on his performance, “It was tough, it was hot out there. The pace picked up around 12-kilometres, I tried to stay with the Spanish racer who ended up winning bronze. At 16-kilometres I noticed I had two cards on the board, so I had to be careful from that point. Had to make sure my technique was flawless. I wanted to finish top eight, I accomplished that.” Gomez is already looking forward towards Rio, “The focus was doing better than in London where I was 13th. It’s now time to start thinking about pushing for medals in Rio (2016).”
Benjamin Thorne of Kitimat, B.C., was 20th in the 20-kilometre race walk in a time of 1:24:26. “This is my first Worlds and I finished in the top half out of 60-some racers, I have to be happy with that. I have a lot of room to grow between now and Rio. I can improve my fitness, improve my heat acclimatization, then I’ll be right there.” Thorne congratulates his teammate “Inaki had a great performance, I’m not quite at that level yet.”
In the semis of the men’s 100-metres Gavin Smellie of Etobicoke, Ont., was eight in the second semi in a time of 10.30 seconds. Aaron Brown of Toronto, Ont., was fifth in the third semi in 10.15 seconds.
Smellie, “You always plan to do your best at the championships, I gave it my all and the result just wasn’t there. Take it as motivation and move on. I’m disappointed at the moment but I have the 4×100-metres to look forward to.” Smellie is Canada’s leadoff man in the sprint relay, “I’ll take a couple of days off to recover and then I’ll be ready to rock and roll. We expect good things to happen.”
Brown, “I got out pretty well, obviously Usain’s (Bolt) acceleration is crazy, I was running next to him out there. No complaints here, happy with how I performed. I’m just going to focus on 4×100-metres now.” He adds, “I feel like I’m part of the team that wants redemption after what happened in London (2012), even if I wasn’t part of it. We have a goal, we want to medal, we want to be on the podium.”
Van BusKirk was seventh in the first heat of the women’s 1500-metres with a time of 4:08.65 to advance to Tuesday’s semis on time. “I expected anything could happen and in practice we prepared for all potential race scenarios. Moving in and out of lanes, making sure I was on my toes. With 80-metres to go I was focused on the finish line, but also counting bodies in front of me.” She adds, “I absolutely want to be on the start line of a final in my career at a major championship, that’s a goal of mine. This is my first major Games, making the semis is really exciting. I knew I was capable of it.”
Nicole Sifuentes finished sixth in the third heat to auto-qualify with a time of 4:08.54. “All I wanted was to advance, that was my plan. I was a bit out there the whole race (lane two), but at least I didn’t get boxed in. I was happy the German set the pace for a fast heat. I knew even if I wasn’t top 6 (to auto-qualify) I would get in on time.”
Sheila Reid of Toronto, Ont., was seventh in the second heat in a time of 4:10.90 and did not advance. “This is what I expected from the race, but this is all I could do today. I haven’t been well for the past week to week and a half. Not much of an appetite and dropping weight. I ran 4:10, that’s pretty slow, I don’t deserve to go through to the semis.”
Canadians in action on day 3 of Worlds
|Heptathlon – 100mH Heat 4
|3000mSC – Heat 1
|3000mSC – Heat 2
|3000mSC – Heat 3
|Heptathlon – high jump
|400mH – Heat 4
|Heptathlon – Shot put
|Heptathlon – 200m