Damian Warner finishes 2nd in heptathlon, sets Canadian record

Canada's Damian Warner crosses the finish line in the men's 1000 meters race of the heptathlon at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Britain, Saturday, March 3, 2018. (Matt Dunham/AP)

BIRMINGHAM, England — Damian Warner of London, Ont., finished second in the heptathlon Saturday at the world indoors athletics championships with a Canadian-record 6,348 points.

Warner’s fight for the gold medal with France’s Kevin Mayer came down to the final event, the 1,000 metres. While Warner posted the best time in the 1,000 at two minutes 37.12 seconds, more than two second quicker than Mayer, he came just short and finished a mere five points behind the Frenchman.

Estonia’s Maciel Uibo finished third at 6,265 points.

Warner led after the first two events — the 60 metres and long jump — before Mayer took over the lead after the shot put.

While Mayer maintained the lead through the final four events, Warner kept close and didn’t let Mayer get comfortable.

In other Canadian results, Alysha Newman of London finished sixth in women’s pole vault with a Canadian record of 4.70 metres.

Earlier, Tomas Walsh of New Zealand broke a 31-year-old world indoors athletics championship record to win the shot put.

Not content with 22.13 metres with his first shot, defending champion Walsh threw a record 22.31 with his last to gasps from spectators at Arena Birmingham.

Ulf Timmermann set the previous record of 22.24 at the 1987 World Championships in Indianapolis.

"I came here to win but I knew that I would have to throw well to beat these guys," said Walsh. "It was a crazy competition but I finished with a boom."

It was a third silver world indoor medal for Germany’s David Storl. Both he and Tomas Stanek of the Czech Republic threw 21.44 but Storl had a superior second best throw.

Seven men threw over 21 metres, a first for indoor competition, while 10 were over 20 metres — also a first.

Earlier, Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela left it until late but successfully defended her triple jump crown.

Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams and Ana Peleteiro of Spain had both jumped personal bests of 14.48 metres and 14.40 to take up the gold and silver medal positions, respectively. Rojas then produced a world leading 14.63 in the penultimate round to take the lead.

Williams, who had led from the start, couldn’t better her mark with her final jumps, while Peleteiro got a red flag.

"This is a great achievement for Venezuela and for our nation. I hope I brought a bit of joy to them and they enjoyed watching it," Rojas said. "I trained so hard for this. It is hard to find words to describe my feelings."

Elsewhere, world record holder Christian Coleman survived an early scare to win his 60-meter heat.

Coleman, who smashed Maurice Greene’s 20-year record last month by clocking 6.34 seconds, stumbled on his third step but cruised to victory in 6.71.

Both the semifinals and the final take place later Saturday.

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