Mak­ing a re­cov­ery

Canada’s de­cath­lete Damian Warner over­comes virus to sit fourth af­ter five events

Cape Breton Post - - Sports | Local Scoreboard - BY LORI EWING

It was 48 hours that Damian Warner should have spent tak­ing care of his body and mind ahead of his gold-medal chase.

In­stead, he was curled up in his ho­tel bed, quar­an­tined for two days as he fought off the rav­ages of a stom­ach virus that has swept through the Cana­dian team’s ho­tel.

Now, barely two days since his quar­an­tine ended, the reign­ing world sil­ver medal­list is re­mark­ably within striking dis­tance of a medal in the decathlon at the world track and field cham­pi­onships, sit­ting fourth af­ter Day 1.

“I have a good team around me so they try to reaf­firm that ev­ery­thing’s go­ing to be OK

and I can work through it,’’ said Warner. “But it’s tough. You work the whole sea­son to come to this com­pe­ti­tion and I’m healthy and we did an awe­some job lead­ing up, and some­thing

like a bug that’s go­ing around the ho­tel that throws you off, and you can’t re­ally pre­pare for that kind of stuff. That was re­ally tough to deal with.’’

Warner’s ill­ness comes amid a string of hor­ri­ble luck for Canada in Lon­don. It be­gan when sprint star An­dre De Grasse and Olympic high jump cham­pion Derek Drouin with­drew with in­juries, and con­tin­ued with news of nine Cana­dian ath­letes and coaches fall­ing ill.

Warner fin­ished Day 1 with 4,347 points, just 14 points be­hind third-place Rico Freimuth of Ger­many.

World sil­ver medal­list Melissa Bishop clinched her spot in Sun­day’s 800-me­tre fi­nal af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond in her semi­fi­nal. And Crys­tal Em­manuel raced to sev­enth in the women’s 200 me­tres in Canada’s first ap­pear­ance in a women’s world 200 fi­nal in 34 years.

Com­pet­ing in the shadow of Amer­i­can su­per­star Ash­ton Ea­ton for years, Warner won world bronze in 2013 and sil­ver in 2015. But when Ea­ton, the world record-holder, re­tired in Jan­uary, the door to the top of the podium swung wide open.

It ap­peared to be Warner’s for the tak­ing. But the 27-yearold from Lon­don, Ont., woke up three days ago feel­ing nau­se­ated, his stom­ach tied in knots.

“I went to the track and did a work­out, and was feel­ing warm and dizzy and very unco-or­di­nated,’’ Warner said.

He re­turned to his room for a nap, and woke up with full­blown vi­ral gas­troen­teri­tis. Thurs­day was his first day back on the track.

“It was a lit­tle bit rough when I came out to do my pre-meet shake­out (Thurs­day). I felt ter­ri­ble,’’ he said. “Still wasn’t over it fully (Fri­day). I’m hop­ing with some sleep I can come back and feel like a brand new Damian.’’

AP PHOTO

Canada’s Damian Warner kneels on the track af­ter rac­ing in a Decathlon 400m heat dur­ing the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don Fri­day.

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