Three-point-thirteen seconds. That is how far Damian Warner needed to finish ahead of long-time leader Kevin Mayer in the 1000m to take heptathlon gold.
Two-point-fifty-two seconds was the eventual gap between the pair – or, in heptathlon terms, a mere five points – as world champion Mayer just about managed to hold on to his lead to add the world indoor title to his fast-growing collection of medals.
For both men, it was one of the biggest tests of their combined events careers. That wasn’t the only story of the competition either as Estonia’s Maicel Uibo and Kai Kazmirek were both in contention for the bronze medal.
With so much on the line, the pace wasn’t slow. The first lap was covered in 32.59, after which Warner hit the front, closely followed by Uibo and Mayer. Warner passed through 400 metres in 1:03.42 and his lead over Mayer grew to about two seconds at half way.
After Warner passed through 600 metres in 1:34.14, Mayer appeared to be slowly closing the gap. But with the clock reading 2:06.10 as the bell sounded, Warner dug in deep. Uibo, sandwiched between Warner and Mayer, was also working hard to open a gap on Kazmirek.
Eventually, though, Mayer clawed back just enough ground to finish within two-and-a-half seconds of his Canadian rival. Warner crossed the line in a PB of 2:37.12 while Mayer was fourth in 2:39.64.
It meant that Mayer held on to the gold medal position with a final score of 6348, while Warner took silver with a Canadian record of 6343.
Uibo ran 2:38.51 in the 1000m while Kazmirek clocked 2:42.15, meaning the Estonian earned bronze with a PB of 6265. In fourth, Kazmirek could find some consolation with his indoor PB of 6238.
“That was a difficult one,” said Mayer, who trains with Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who won the pentathlon here yesterday. “Katarina won, so I decided that I have to win too. She trains with me; she’s like a little sister, so I had to win.
“In that 1000m I was pushed to the end of my life,” he added. “Thanks to the crowd, you helped so much during this race. That was crazy. It was perfect.”
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF