Making a recovery
Canada’s decathlete Damian Warner overcomes virus to sit fourth after five events
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.’’
Canada’s Damian Warner kneels on the track after racing in a Decathlon 400m heat during the World Athletics Championships in London Friday.