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Race leader collapses as Shelley emerges as new marathon man

Social media feels that medical assistance reached Hawkins late

Image Credit: Reuters
Scotland’s Callum Hawkins lies on the ground as Australia’s Michael Shelley runs past him yesterday.
Gulf News

Gold Coast: One of the most dramatic scenes at the Commonwealth Games came early on the final day.

Callum Hawkins of Scotland was leading the marathon on Sunday morning when he became physically distressed and collapsed with about two kilometres remaining. Michael Shelley ran past to win the race and defend the title he won at Glasgow four years ago.

Hawkins, who had about a two-minute lead over Shelley, first became disoriented in the humid conditions at about the 38km mark of the 42.2km race, briefly holding himself up next to a race barrier to try to regain his balance.

He was able to continue for a while, despite having difficulty running in a straight line, but fell to the road two kilometres later and was receiving medical attention as Shelley raced past him.

“I wasn’t sure what was going on. I had a couple of mates (in the crowd) who said Callum was in a bit of trouble. They told me to keep going and gave me encouragement,” Shelley said. “I just tried to hang on.”

Hawkins was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance for testing and Scotland team officials said “there are no major concerns for his welfare at this stage.”

The team passed along a message from Hawkins while the closing ceremony was underway, saying “Thanks for all your messages of support today and to the Gold Coast University Hospital staff. I am now feeling much better.”

Television commentators were critical and there was backlash on social media because of the delay getting medical assistance to Hawkins, particularly after a security official tried to move away spectators who were attempting to help the stricken runner.

Shelley finished in 2 hours, 16 minutes and 46 seconds. Munyo Solomon Mutai of Uganda took silver with a time of 2:19.02, with Robbie Simpson of Scotland won bronze, 34 seconds behind Mutai.

In the women’s marathon, Helalia Johannes of Namibia won gold in 2:32.40 with Australians Lisa Weightman and Jess Trengrove taking silver and bronze. Johannes became the first woman from Namibia to win a Commonwealth gold medal.

The closing ceremony included a section for Usain Bolt, who was in town to support his old Jamaica teammates and stepped in to do a guest DJ stint. The ceremony included a handover to present the Commonwealth Games Federation flag to Birmingham, England, where the 2022 games will be held.

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