Two days after being quarantined for a stomach bug, Canada’s Damian Warner is within striking distance of a decathlon medal at the world track and field championships
Despite feeling fatigued, Warner remains in the medal hunt as he stands in fourth place, 14 points from a podium spot.
Warner fell ill earlier in the week with the viral gastroenteritis that has affected 40 athletes at the meet so far, and spent Tuesday and Wednesday quarantined in his hotel room.
The 27-year-old said Friday’s five events — 100 metres, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 metres — were draining.
“It took a lot of energy out of me. I felt in the 100 metres,” the 27-year-old told CBC Sports.
Still, the London, Ont., native is in a good spot to grab a medal for Canada at the world championships.
Kevin Mayer of France leads the way with 4,478 points and is followed by two Germans: Kai Kazmirek (4,421) and Rico Freimuth (4,361). Warner is next at 4,347.
“For him to be in fourth place is actually pretty remarkable,” said CBC Sports analyst Anson Henry. “Being quarantined and not being able to eat the way you want, train the way you want can have huge effects on your performance. I could visible see that he had no power or acceleration out of the blocks in his 100 metres. And he could not explode off of the board in the long jump: two of his strong events. The effect of the sickness is very apparent, and he’s still in medal contention? That’s crazy.”
The 27-year-old took the early lead Friday by running the top time in the opening stage, the 100 (10.50 seconds).
But he fell to second in the standings after tying for the 11th-best leap in the long jump (7.44 metres).
Warner then sank to sixth after placing 24th in the shot put (13.45m).
The London, Ont., native couldn’t make up any ground after the high jump event and remained in sixth place. His best jump was a 2.02-metre effort, but well off his personal-best of 2.09. His season best is 2.03.
In the 400, Warner ran a season-best time of 47.47 seconds, moving into fourth place in the final event of the day.
“I’m hoping that I can put a special day tomorrow,” he told CBC Sports.
Warner is chasing his first decathlon world title. He took the silver medal in 2015 and bronze in 2013. He claimed bronze at last year’s Olympics. American Ashton Eaton, who is now retired, won gold each time.
The final five events — 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, 1,500 — of the decathlon go Saturday (CBCSports.ca, 4:50 a.m. ET).
“He’s had some bad luck, so with that, the competitors ahead of him can have some bad luck as well,” said Henry. “He’s going to have to have some near flawless performances and need a few mistakes from his competitors. Gold is still within reach, but the podium as a whole is still definitely within reach.”