Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Warner Poised for Third Gotzis Title in His Decathlon Season Debut

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Warner Poised for Third Gotzis Title in His Decathlon Season Debut

Article excerpt

Warner poised for third Gotzis victory


A Canadian record and a hat trick are on the line when Damian Warner makes his season decathlon debut this weekend.

The 27-year-old from London, Ont., is the favourite to capture a third Hypo Meeting title in Gotzis, Austria, and his coach Les Gramantik believes Warner's national record could fall in the process.

"I wouldn't be surprised," Gramantik said. "But that doesn't mean that he will. I think the components are there. But it's a funny game -- you have a slip here, slip there ... ultimately the biggest challenge is to win, not just to score."

Warner won the prestigious Hypo Meeting, which brings together the world's top decathletes and heptathletes, in both 2013 and last year.

The event will be a good gauge of Warner's progress since he moved from London to Calgary in December to work with Gramantik. It will be the only international decathlon Warner will do before the world championships in London in August.

"I'm here to see where I'm at the start of the season, to start off the season well, and just move on from there and build on it," Warner said at Friday's introductory news conference.

Warner, a world silver and bronze medallist, is a favourite to claim Canada's first decathlon world title, particularly after the retirement of American Ashton Easton, who's dominated the event for several years.

"Everybody feels all of a sudden a door swung wide open for Damian because Ashton is gone. But there's always going to be athletes out there who are capable," said Gramantik, who mentioned Kevin Mayer of France -- who edged Warner for silver in Rio -- and Lindon Victor of Grenada, who's shattered the NCAA record twice already this season.

"As I always say to people, 'Others also train. You're not the only one training.' But I think definitely it's a more wide-open opportunity to become world champion or to become an Olympic champion."

Warner's Canadian record of 8,695 points was set at the 2015 world championships in Beijing. …

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