Home National Teams Canada’s Pierce LePage wins silver after Damian Warner’s decathlon mishap

Canada’s Pierce LePage wins silver after Damian Warner’s decathlon mishap

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Damian Warner
Canada's Damian Warner who had been leading after seven events, plummeted to sixth place after scoring zero points in the pole vault in the men's decathlon at the Commonwealth Games. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

GOLD COAST, Australia — As expected, Canada won a decathlon medal at the Commonwealth Games.

But it was Pierce LePage of Whitby, Ont., who climbed the podium to collect a silver behind Grenada’s Lindon Victor after defending champion Damian Warner pulled out in the wake of failing to clear a height in the pole vault.

The Canadian star, who had been leading after seven events, plummeted to sixth place after scoring zero points in the pole vault. His medal chances gone, he did not start the javelin — the penultimate event of the competition.

“He is OK, obviously very disappointed,” said Les Gramantik, Warner’s coach. “We didn’t come here to watch the event on TV. We are here to compete, that’s the only thing that matters. Damian is OK, just keeping to himself.”

The 28-year-old from London, Ont., who now makes his home in Calgary, missed three pole vault attempts at 4.50 metres. His personal best is 4.90 metres.

“I wish I could explain exactly what happened,” Gramantik said. “It wasn’t due to the conditions, perhaps it was a bit of anxiety. We are both keen to figure it out.”

Victor, who set the NCAA decathlon record last year competing for Texas, won with 8,303 points, ahead of LePage’s personal best of 8,171. Australian Cedric Dubler third at 7,983.

The 22-year-old LePage’s previous top score was 8,027.

Asked how he felt, LePage said “Physically bad at but mentally I’m super happy with how everything turned out.”

“For me this is a huge stepping stone going from local competitions to a big event like the Commonwealth Games,” he added.

LePage said Warner will be back.

“I know from experience that when something like that happens it’s best to leave him alone,” he said. “He’s a world-class athlete who I’m sure will bounce back and do even better.”

Dubler said he felt for Warner.

“Damian is an incredible athlete and has supported me for a few years now. When I did the national championships and trials here (in February), he was messaging me ‘Good luck’ and congratulating me when I did good performances.

“He’s so involved and supportive of all the athletes. It’s really tough to see him fall back.”

Canada also collected a gold and bronze on the track through wheelchair racers Alex Dupont of Clarenceville, Que., and Diane Roy of Sherbrooke, Que.

Dupont, co-captain of the Canadian track team, won the T54 150-metre final in 3:11.75 while Roy took bronze in the women’s race in 3:36.97.

Dupont, who won a bronze four years ago in Glasgow, finished ahead of Australian icon Kurt Fearnley, a three-time Paralympic champion.

“It’s awesome, I’ve never done as well,” said Dupont, who won bronze four years ago in Glasgow. “I couldn’t ask for any better. It’s a great day.”

Roy, 47, turns her attention to the games marathon now.

Warner had been doing well until the pole vault debacle.

He started Day 2 with the best time in the 110-metre hurdles, clocking 13.89 seconds. He then placed fourth in the discus with a throw of 46.55 metres.

That left Warner with 6,297 points after seven of 10 events, ahead of Victor (6,074) and LePage (6,009).

On Monday, Warner opened with his season-best 10.29 in the 100, threw a personal best 15:11 metres in the shot put, recorded 7.54 metres in the long jump and a season-best 2.04 metres in the high jump. He capped off the day by winning his 400 in 48.12 for a total of 4,509 points.

Warner is coming off a second-place heptathlon showing at the world indoor championships in Birmingham, England, losing to France’s Kevin Mayer by just five points despite setting a Canadian indoor record of 6,343 points.

The Canadian has had his share of bad luck. He finished fifth at last year’s world track and field championships in London after being laid low by a stomach bug that swept through the Canadian team’s hotel.

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