Now, I don’t profess to know much about the rules and ethics of athletics, but I take great exception to the treatment, or lack of, rather, meted out to the collapsed Scottish marathon runner today in the Commonwealth Games.
Sure the runner was only two kilometres from the finish line and desperate to win Gold for him and his country, but after one fall, he wouldn’t have known whether he was in Australia or home in Scotland.
Anyone who has played contact sport and copped a whack in the noggin, and I have, has no real concept of where they are or what they are up to next.
After he got up off the concrete from the first fall, how come there was not a medical person in sight when it was as plain as the nose on your face that it would end up a total disaster…and it did.
The fact that Callum Hawkins was allowed to lie on the tar in excruciating pain with millions watching TV sets worldwide was an indictment on the Games officials, who to this point had been almost faultless in their organisation.
I do know that if the Scottish marathon runner had been a horse or a dog racing and collapsed in such a heap, the ‘do gooders’ would have been out in force trying to ban the sport because of inhumane treatment.
If this was not inhumane treatment on the Gold Coast today then I am seriously bad judge.
Commonwealth Games organisers came under fire from many quarters for the delay in getting help to the stricken Scottish athlete who collapsed with heatstroke, in temperatures reaching 28 degrees, while leading the men’s marathon with just 2 kilometres to go.
The sight of Hawkins crashing into the bridge railing and collapsing on the road sparked an angry reaction from commentators and on social media, with Games organisers and nearby spectators criticised for their reaction.
BBC Sport commentator Steve Cram said it was disgraceful that paramedics took so long to attend to Hawkins.
“I’m just concerned for his welfare. He hit his head on the barrier. I’m sorry if you’re watching this at home, it’s really distressing. He’s going to hurt himself and there’s nobody anywhere near,” he said.
“We should have some more medical attention. This is a guy in real distress and someone needs to recognise it for his health at this point.
“Where on Earth is the help? You cannot just wait at the finish line. They’ve got radios. And finally somebody arrives. I think it’s “Medics were shockingly slow to get there and then to act when they did. The athlete will always want to finish but isn’t able to think rationally at that point.”
In defence of the paramedics, GOLDOC chief executive Mark Peters said it was not possible for medics to be positioned on “every kilometre” of the track.
Well, they wouldn’t have to be in the first 20 or 30 kms, would they? Surely they have to be stationed alongside the course in the final few kilometres when the athletes are under the greatest duress.
Mr Peters said he was worried about the actions of some spectators when Hawkins collapsed. “I was also concerned about the behaviour of a small number of bystanders who chose to take images. This is not in keeping with the spirit of GC2018,” he said.
Race winner Shelley also came in for criticism on social media claiming he heartlessly ran past Hawkins on his way to claiming gold in the event. That’s totally unfair, he was struggling with his own mind games and not aware of the Scotsman’s distress, and he was left behind earlier in the race by the leader who left nothing in the tank and finally hit the wall – in other words, the leader blew up and busted in the heat, humidity and pressure of the Games event. At that point it was not really Shelley’s job to feel sorry for his competitor.
Team Scotland wrote on social media tonight that Hawkins had been taken to hospital for monitoring, but medical staff had “no major concerns” about his condition.