Cult hero Rohan Browning finished sixth in the final of the 100m at the Commonwealth Games.
Just an hour after he became the first Australian to reach a Commonwealth Games 100m final since 2010, Browning endured a disappointing final run that left him just 0.06 seconds short of the bronze medal at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
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It was the closest Australia has got to winning a medal in the men’s blue ribbon event since Matt Shirvington’s lightning time of 10.03 still wasn’t enough for him to get a medal at the 1998 Games.
Australia has never won a medal in the men’s event since the Commonwealth Games changed the distance to 100m in 1970. Now we have to wait at least four more years.
Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala won gold in 10.02 and reigning champion Akani Simbine won silver in 10.13. Sri Lanka’s Yupun Abeykoon took bronze with 10.14 with Browning crossing the line in 10.20.
“I’m not happy with it,” Browning said afterwards. “It was just an ugly, painful kind of race and it’s one of those tough nights.
“A month ago there’s no way I saw myself in this final. I try to take each win and race in my stride but once you’re here you just want to be on that podium. That’s what it’s all about.
“I thought about packing it in after worlds and just getting back home and into some training for next year and I am glad I decided to persist. I think one of the lessons I have learned is persistence is so much more important than patience. You have just got to keep trying things and keep at it.
“Today there were a few things I could have done to be up there but I think I was bested today. I need more training in my legs and I need a big winter off-season.”
The 24-year-old exploded out of the blocks and was right there in the mix with 40m to run. However, he slipped back slightly in the final run to the line and had to settle for a result that Aussie athletics great Tamsyn Manou said would have made him “bitterly disappointed”.
“He wasn’t far off,” she said in commentary or Channel 7.
“He looks bitterly disappointed, but I’m OK with that because that means he wanted more.”
In a cruel twist, Browning’s time of 10.10 seconds he set in the heats would have been enough for the silver medal.
Browning was philosophical when assessing his performance after the race, telling Channel 7 he “didn’t quite have the gas”.
“It’s nice to make a final and go through rounds of running. It’s a step in the right direction, I would’ve loved to be on the podium,” he added.
“I’m not satisfied by any means, but not too beat up. It’s been one of those seasons, and always learning.”
Browning became just the fourth Aussie to make a Commonwealth Games 100m final in the past 30 years.
He joins Aaron Rouge-Serret (fifth in 2010) and Patrick Johnson (sixth in 2006) in the list of Aussies who have fallen agonisingly short.
Browning produced his best run of the year to send a message in the heats on Tuesday night (AEST).
He won his heat in a time of 10.10 in a spectacular turnaround from the World Championships in Oregon last month where he was unable to get out of the heats.
Browning, who famously ran 10.01 to win his heat at the Tokyo Olympics last year, looks like he is the real deal once again.
He said part of his bounce back from the world championships is the “humiliating” factor of failing to reach the semi-finals.
“I try not to take it to heart,” he said.
“There’s always that humiliation element when you get run out in the heats, but just trying to bounce back from it and not take it to heart and just trust that the form is there, it’s just in the execution. I think I’ve tapped into a good vein of form.”
Jake Doran, Australia’s second-fastest man, was unable to reach the final, finishing eighth in Heat 2 in a time of 10.40 seconds.