DOHA (Reuters) - World record holder Kevin Mayer of France pulled out of the world championship decathlon after seven events on Thursday after suffering what appeared to be a pulled hamstring in the 110 metres hurdles.
Mayer, locked in a duel with Canadian Damian Warner for the gold medal, made his first pole vault attempt but ran straight through the pit then stood on the mats and blew a kiss to the crowd.
The Frenchman wiped away a tear, then sat down and buried his head in his arms.
Warner began the second day with a 27-point lead over team mate Pierce LePage and 30 points clear of Mayer.
But the Canadian gave notice that he meant business on day two by clocking the top time of 13.56 seconds in the 110m hurdles to increase his advantage to 71 points.
Mayer clocked 13.87 but clutched his left hamstring and grimaced as he crossed the line.
Before the discus Mayer was seen receiving a massage and treatment on the leg, a worrying sign with a long night of five events just underway.
Mayer showed no distress, however, as he posted the fourth best throw of 48.34 metres to retake the lead by 56 points after Warner finished tied for last in the event.
(This story corrects number of events from six to seven in first para)
Reporting by Steve Keating; editing by Clare Fallon