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Tienkamper Damian Warner wil wereldrecord

door Bert Vreeswijk, foto’s Erik van Leeuwen

De Canadese tienkamper Damian Warner won tijdens de Olympische Spelen in 2021 te Tokio de gouden medaille vóór wereldrecordhouder (9126 pnt.) Kevin Mayer, die met het zilver genoegen moest nemen. Warner deed dit met een nieuw olympisch record van 9018 punten. Het oude record stond op naam van twee andere 9000 punten-mannen, te weten Roman Sebrle en Ashton Eaton, die in in hun olympische optredens van resp. 2004 en 2016 beiden tot 8893 punten kwamen. Warner kwam in Tokio bij zijn recordscore ook tot een nieuw ‘wereldrecord’ in de tienkamp op de 100 m. die hij in een fenomenale 10.12 liep. Al eerder verbeterde hij op de onderdelen verspringen en 110 m horden ‘wereldrecords’ in de tienkamp, met respectievelijk 8.28 m. en 13.36 seconden.

Deze fantastische en sympathieke atleet is momenteel in zijn voorbereidingen goed op weg richting de wereldkampioenschappen atletiek, die in augustus in Eugene (VS) zullen worden gehouden. Wij van baan-atletiek.nl zochten contact met Damian en stelden hem een aantal vragen die hij met veel enthousiasme voor onze lezers beantwoordde.

Om niets verloren te laten gaan in een vertaling naar het Nederlands is besloten om Damians antwoorden te publiceren in de Engelse taal.

How old were you when you started doing decathlon? Is it correct that you were initially more of a basketballer, sprinter and longjumper?

‘I started training for the decathlon in 2010, when I was 20 years old. Before starting the decathlon I did the sprint 100 and 200 m. and long jump/triple jump. Before getting involved with Track and Field I played basketbal and football in highschool.’

Damian, do you think you have inherited the (athletic) genes from your Father Kevin and your mother Brenda?
‘My mom would tell you it’s from her without question, and if you were to ask my dad you would most likely receive a similar answer. Both my parents were athletes when they were young, so I imagine that helps. They also encouraged me to get outsite and be active, so I think the combination made me the athlete I am today, among other things.’

What skills do you need to  be a good decathlete - mentally and physically?
‘The cool things about the decathlon is you can be competitive with different body types. No mather if you’re short, if you have the necessary skills you can do well. Physically the decathlon favours people with speed and jumping ability, so if you can do those events well you have an advantage. From the mental side, if you are good at keeping an even emotional state it helps, because there is always something that goes wrong in the decathlon. Being comfortable with failure is also helpful, as there is so much you need to learn in such little time, failure is inevitable.’

Who is/are your trainer/coaches and what does a coach mean to you, how important is he/are they for you?
‘I have a lot of people that are part of my team –  “Team Warner”. Decathlon coaches (4), strength coaches (2), a mental performance coach, and a physio therapist, that all helps me to get where I need to be physically and mentally.’

Last year you were the 4th decathlete to pass the 9000 points with 9018 points in Tokyo. I read that in 2011 you won your first national Canadian decathlon title with 7760 points.  That means it took ten years for you to reach your present level. What did you do over the past ten years to get to this point? Could you describe the process?
‘It was a long process of ups and downs, but our belief and mindset never changed. Being an athlete it’s important to be patient because your goals won’t always happen right away. As you stated, in my case it took 10 years. During that time we just tried to continue improving our physical abilities while also improving the technical skills in the events that given me issues (like pole  vault, javelin and discus). It’s an ongoing process.’

You are the fastest decathlete and longjumper on earth. Have you ever wondered about being a specialist?
‘Every time I do a decathlon! In all seriousness I’ve never given it serious thought. The decathlon is a challenging event, and doing individual events would certainly make my life easier, but I love the decathlon.’ 

You are now only 108 points away from the world-record. Where Is there room for improvement (the pole vault, discus and javelin?) so you can try and beat Kevin Mayer’s record?
‘The world record (9126 points) is definitely a goal of ours. It won’t be an easy one but we will certainly try and do our best job in a position to chase it. I think that’s what sport is all about, trying to change and push the boundaries of athletic performance. Kevin has set a very high standard and now it’s our job as decathletes to chase it and set it higher for the next group of decathletes.’

I read that it is/was very cold in Canada with. How do you train in this period? Do you go abroad or do you also train indoors?
‘The weather is currently cold in Canada, and because of Covid-19 we are still not travelling much to warm weather training camps. We are just doing our training at an indoor facility (around a skating rink) here in my hometown of London, Ontario.’

In Rio you took your first olympic bronze medal with 8666 points, finishing behind Ashton Eaton (8893) and Kevin Mayer (8834). Who do you think are your biggest opponents in the World Championships in Eugene 2022?
‘Thats a tough question because the decathlon is so hard to predict. There are 10 events and so much can happen during 2 days. The decathlon is currently very deep with talent so I could list 10 guys that could all be on the podium in Eugene. It’s going tob who shows up healthy, and prepared on two days that will win.’

The Olympics in Paris are 2 years away. Do you think you will still be taking part in those Games and what would you say to the young Dutch and Belgian decathletes to encourage them to go for it?
‘Definitely! One of my big goals is to try and defend my titel in Paris. If I had to give any advice to the Dutch and Belgian athletes it would be to never give up on your goals! Continue to work hard, learn as much as you can, surround yourself with people who can help makeyour goals a reality.’

What is your personal life device?
You can do anything you set your mind to.
This is something my mom told me when I was younger and it was challenged me to set big goals for myself and to chase them. It won’t always be easy, and it may take a long time but anything is possible.’

Profiel Damian David George Warner 

Discipline: Tienkamp

Naam: Damian Warner

Geboortedatum: 4 november 1989 (32 jaar)

Lengte en gewicht: 1.84 m. en 83 kg.

Ouders: Kevin Warner en Brenda Philpott

Broer en zus: Chaz Perriam en Kristi Warner

Woonplaats: London, Ontario

Land: Canada

Beste prestaties:

100 m: 10.12 sec./ ver: 8.28 m./ kogel: 15.34 m./ hoog: 2.09 m./ 400 m.: 46.54 sec.

110 m.h.: 13.27 sec/ discus: 50.26 m./ polsh: 4.90 m./ speer: 64.67 m./ 1500 m: 4.24.73

Beste tienkamp: 9018 punten O.S. Tokio 2021

100 m: 10.12 / ver: 8.24 m./ kogel: 14.80 m./ hoog: 2.02 m./ 400 m.: 47.48 sec.        

110m.h.: 13.46 sec./ discus: 48.67 m./ polsh.: 4.90 m./ speer: 63.44 m./ 1500m: 4.31.08

Beste indoor 7 kamp: 6343 punten, WK Indoor zilver, Birmingham 2018.                                                                                       
60 m: 6.74/ ver: 7.39 m./ kogel: 14.90 m./ hoog: 2.02 m./ 60 m.h.: 7.67 sec./ 1000m.: 2.37.12 min.

Titels;

1 keer goud O.S. Tokio 2021

1 keer zilver WK  

2 keer brons WK

5 keer winnaar van de Hypo Meeting in Götzis, in 2013, 2016 , 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021

2 keer winnaar van de Décaster decathlon, in 2013 en 2017

3 keer Canadees kampioen in 2011, 2012 en 2013

2 keer Pan-Amerikaanse Spelen in 2015 en 2019 

Prestatie ontwikkeling;

2010: 7449, 2011: 7760, 2012: 8442, 2013: 8512, 2014: 8282, 2015: 8695, 2016: 8666, 2017: 8591, 2018: 8795, 2019: 8529, 2020: C.P.*, 2021: 9018 

*=Corona Pandemie