GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — Damian Warner’s bid to defend his Commonwealth Games decathlon title ended when he failed to clear a height in the pole vault, leaving the aptly-named Lindon Victor to win his first gold medal at a major meet.
Warner, the Olympic bronze and former world silver medalist, missed all three attempts at 4.50 meters — well short of his personal best of 4.90. After seven events, he was leading with 6,297 points. The 28-year-old Canadian dropped from first to sixth and didn’t compete in the javelin or the 1,500 meters on a wet night at the Carrara Stadium. His officials result: DNF.
Victor won the gold for Grenada with 8,303 points and Warner’s Canadian teammate Pierce Lepage took silver at 8,171. Australia’s Cedric Dubler collected bronze in 7,983.
“It’s not the way I wanted to win, with Damien having three fouls, but I prayed for the gold medal,” Victor said. “It’s 10 events, not nine. It’s the nature of the decathlon.”
Victor was competing at his first major international meet since graduating from Texas A&M, where he set an all-time collegiate record with 8,539 points and was a two-time NCAA decathlon champion.
“I’m looking forward to starting my professional year,” he said. “I was a little below my personal record, but it’s early in the season.”
As far as he was concerned, he felt like a winner when he started the competition with Victor on his singlet.
“I thank my parents for that,” he said. “I say I’m already the victor.”
Warner started competition on the second day of the event with the leading time in the 110-meter hurdles at 13.89 seconds. He had the fourth-best mark in the discus with a throw of 46.55 meters.
He started the decathlon competition on Monday with his season-best 10.29 seconds in the 100 and also threw a personal best 15:11 meters in the shot put and held a 129-point overnight lead over Lepage.
After surpassing 8,100 points for the first time and experience a major multi-sport competition for the first time, Lepage said he was looking forward to bigger meets.
He said he’d let Warner have time to himself because talking about the pole vault, which is where things can often go wrong in the decathlon.
“I know from experience — I know I’ve hit the pole — I did it three years in a row,” he said. “When something like that happens, you leave them alone. Give him some space. He’ll figure it out. He’s a world-class athlete — I’m sure he’ll come back and score even better.”
Dubler, who moved into medal contention by posting the top mark in the pole vault at 5 meters, said Warner’s late absence was a blow for the competition.
“Damian is an incredible athlete,” Dubler said. “He’s so involved and supportive of all the athletes — it’s really tough to see him fall back.”