GOLD COAST, Australia, Apr 15- A marathon runner’s dramatic collapse struck a sour note on the last day of the Commonwealth Games on Sunday as hosts Australia finished runaway winners on the medals table with 80 golds.
Organisers defended the medical response but criticised bystanders for snapping pictures of a stricken Callum Hawkins, who keeled over two kilometres (just over a mile) from victory.
In temperatures nudging 30 degrees Celsius (85 Fahrenheit) in Gold Coast, Scotland’s Hawkins wobbled and went down twice, lying prone for some time before help arrived.
“I like many others was distressed to see a wonderful athlete like Callum collapse during the closing stages of today’s marathon,” said chief organiser Mark Peters.
“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.”
TV commentators and viewers blasted Hawkins’ wait for medical assistance, while many also criticised the bystanders who took pictures.
Marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe tweeted that there were “big questions” for the organising committee and medical staff.
“That should never happen,” she said.
Australian winner Michael Shelley ran past the prone Hawkins just as help arrived. The Scottish runner was taken to hospital but was not in a serious condition.
The Games have been painted by organisers as Australia’s chance to burnish its image for sportsmanship after a Test cricket cheating scandal which shocked the nation.