Damian Warner 5th in decathlon; Ahmed makes history in 5000m, while men’s relay team finish 6th

Damian Warner of London, Ont., placed fifth in the decathlon today at the 2017 IAAF World Championships. This is the first time since the 2012 Olympic Games that Warner did not land on the podium at a major global championship. Mohammed Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ont., finished sixth in the 5000-metres final, this after placing eighth earlier this week in the 10,000-metres. The men’s 4x100-metres team also finished sixth, bringing Canada’s top-eight total to 11 with one day of competition to go.

Warner opened up day two of the decathlon with the fastest time in the 110-metre hurdles. He came through in 13.63 seconds for 1,023 points. That performance moved him into third place overall in the standings. In the discus, Warner registered a best throw of 40.67-metres for 764 points. He set a season’s best in the pole vault clearing 4.70-metres for 819 points. Warner’s best throw in the javelin measured 56.63-metres earning him 764 points in the decathlon standings. Going into the 1500-metres he had slipped to fifth overall.  

In the 1500-metres, the final event of the decathlon, Warner ran a season’s best of 4:28.39. His two-day total score amounted to 8,309 points, good for fifth place. “Motivation wise, a lot of stuff was tough, especially the second day,” said Warner at the conclusion of the decathlon. “Usually going into the 1500-metres you have all of these nerves. You have a goal – catch this person, or don’t let this person pass you. Today was like, just finish. That was the goal today. I just tried to go out there and finish strong.” When asked about what he would takeaway from the two-day event, Warner said “There are some positives to take away, but they are really hard to find right now.” Warner won bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games, silver at the 2015 World Championships and bronze at the 2013 World Championships.

Earlier in the week, Warner was sick and in quarantine. Following the 1500-metres he said, “It’s really frustrating, especially since next year there is no World Championships. These are the guys that I want to compete against, these are the guys that I want to beat and I’m not going to get to see those guys at a World Championships until two years from now.”

Warner added, “It’s always nice to finish, because there were so many times within this decathlon that I was mentally checked out and I physically wanted to check-out as well. It was just a tough couple of days.”

The Canadian quartet of Gavin Smellie of Brampton, Ont., Aaron Brown of Toronto, Brendon Rodney of Brampton, Ont., and Mobolade Ajomale of Richmond Hill battled valiantly for a sixth-place finish in the final of the 4x100-metres in a time of 38.59 seconds.

Brown on the performance, “It wasn’t our best, we’re going to go back and reflect on it, watch the tape and see what we can do better. I’m still proud of my guys for going out there, going hard and making the final. We always expect to be on the podium, that’s something we’ve done over the years, obviously, that’s disappointing. I’m so proud of my guys and we’ll recoup and get better next time.”

Mobolade Ajomale, who ran the anchor for the injured Andre De Grasse, said “We’re not too happy with it. We came here to medal, but we’ll take it as a learning experience and we’re just going to do what we can for next year and the year after.”

The men’s 4x100-metres relay team advanced to the evening session’s final with a time of 38.48 in the heats.

Ahmed and Justyn Knight of Toronto both took part in the 5000-metres final, the first time in history that Canada has fielded two men in this final. More history was made as Ahmed’s sixth-place finish is the best-ever by a Canadian. He raced to a time of 13:35.43. “When the push really happened, I felt pretty good. I reacted, I was gathering myself for the last 400-metres. I was in position with 400-metres to go and I just didn’t have enough. I felt fine, they hit another top gear that I didn’t have and I just couldn’t hang. This will serve as motivation,” said Ahmed following the race. “A lot of people would probably hang it up or say I’m not good enough. I’m not like that. I’ve always believed in myself and always expected myself to do great things. I’m still kind of the underdog, still slowly, in secrecy, coming up the ranks. Hopefully, I can win the next one.”

Knight crossed the finish line in 13:39.15, good for ninth place. Following the race, the 21-year old said, “I feel good. It’s amazing just to be part of this environment. It was a great run out there. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about how to race on the world stage. I think moving forward I have to expect more from myself and use it as a learning experience.” On what he will take away from Worlds Knight said, “I learned a lot about myself. I think I could stay out of trouble a bit more. Just getting in a better position, not being too antsy, and just being patient. I wish I was just a bit closer to those guys come 400-metres to go, but that’s all.”

The women’s 4x400-metres did not advance out of the heats and into tomorrow’s final. Carline Muir of Edmonton, Aiyanna Stiverne of Laval, Que., Travia Jones of Regina and Natassha McDonald of Brampton, Ont., combined for a time of 3:28.47, sixth in heat 1. Following their heat, Carline Muir said,  “It was very difficult heats. The girls went out there and ran their butts off and I’m proud of them for that. I’m proud that we were able to get it around, but we came up just a little too short for the final and we’re very sad about that. It does hurt comparing it to what we came off Rio and coming into this with.”

Aiyanna Stiverne said, “Our main goal was to leave it all out on the track, and whatever happens, happens at that point. We just knew if we ran our best race, technique wise individually, it would be what we needed it to be. We just came a little short, and obviously, it’s disappointing especially because I didn’t make the team last year. I wish we made it to the final. I wanted to help us get to where we were.”

Travia Jones added, “At the end of the day, I ran to the best of my ability. I know we all did. We gave it our best. At the end of the day we came up a little bit short, but it was just a learning experience for us.”

Canadian Day 10 Worlds preview (all times ET)

The final day of the 2017 IAAF World Championships gets underway bright and early tomorrow morning when the men hit the road for the 20km and 50km race-walks.

After a fourth-place finish in Rio, Evan Dunfee (Richmond, B.C.) looks to step on the podium in London alongside teammate Mathieu Bilodeau (Vancouver) in the men’s 50km race-walk at 2:45 a.m.

Reigning World bronze medallist Benjamin Thorne (Kitimat, B.C.) takes to the road at 9:20 a.m. in the men’s 20km race-walk.

Canadian record-holder and reigning World silver medallist Melissa Bishop (Eganville, Ont.,) looks for redemption in the women’s 800-metres final at 3:10 p.m. Bishop wants to show the world she can still be on top.

Visit Athletics Canada’s World Championships Information Hub for everything you need to know about Canada’s team, including complete schedule info, CBC webcast / broadcast information and more.


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