Mathakane Letsie stars as Ferdinand Omanyala, Elaine Thompson-Herah win 100m finals

Mathakane Letsie stars as Ferdinand Omanyala, Elaine Thompson-Herah win 100m finals

Eventually, she finished six minutes after McColgan yet received roaring support from the crowd in further evidence these are truly the “Friendly Games”.

After crossing the line, Letsie walked directly towards the main grandstand, grabbed a drink of water and made her way through the mixed media zone where rival competitors were speaking to reporters from their respective countries.

It was a night to remember at the Alexander Stadium on Wednesday.Credit:Getty

When I grabbed her attention, she was stunned that someone wanted to speak to her.

Why wouldn’t we? Ella she’s the humanity we’re supposed to see in sport. She’d also run a personal best time.

“My confidence now is not good,” Letsie told me. “I’m a mother from Ghana. I’m not on the track. I am a mother from Ghana. I can’t prepare properly.”

As McColgan took on the Kenyans, Letsie was a distant last behind the rest of the field. It didn’t take long for the fans to realize, trying to lift her with every stride.

She was lapped in the 11th, 18th and 25th minutes as the field strung out, forcing the men’s high jumpers — including Australia’s Brandon Starckwho claimed silver after winning gold four years ago — to wait to compete.

Earlier, Australia’s Rohan Browning continued his good form from the heats, becoming the first Australian in 12 years to make the final of the men’s 100m with a commanding run in the semi-final.

When it came time for the final, the men took their place behind the blocks as a heartbeat played through the loudspeakers.

Silence fell over the arena before a spectator couldn’t help himself. “EAT ON ENGLAND!” I have bellowed repeatedly before someone managed to shut him up.

Wings, England’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake finished last, Browning finished sixth while up front Omanyala never looked like taking home anything but gold.

Rohan Browning was sixth in the men's 100m final.

Rohan Browning was sixth in the men’s 100m final.Credit:Getty Images

“I love the hype,” the stocky Kenyan said afterwards. “I love the attention. I was still fast in rugby, and still fast in track.”

South African akani simbinewho had gone into the race as his main threat, saw a silver lining in his silver medal: “Ferdinand’s win is good for Africa.”

As for Thompson-Herah, there was a belief before the race that England’s Daryl Neita could beat her after breezing through her semi-final.

As it transpired, Thompson-Herah had kept her powder dry as she won her first 100m Commonwealth Games medal.

“I am grateful,” she said. “I had a better execution. I am happy to get my first title. I came fourth in the 200m four years ago, and so to move up to a gold, I’m super excited for that.”

Her sights are now set on the women’s 200m, although the race, disappointingly, won’t include countrywomen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jacksonboth of whom have skipped the meet.

Some believe their absence erodes the relevance of the Commonwealth Games, and in some respects they are right.

Try telling that though to McColgan, who cried tears as the Scottish national anthem was played.

Try telling Letsie, who on Monday returns home to her children.

Hanson clocks off

There will be plenty of farewells and sign-offs at these Games but none will be felt more keenly among athletes – and reporters – than that of legendary media man Ian “Hanso” Hanson.

For decades, there has been no safer pair of hands for sports than Hanson, who has notched up an astonishing nine Olympics and 10 Commonwealth Games, along with countless elite swimming meets, surf carnivals and everything in between.

If he had a dollar for every time a clueless reporter was told to simply “Ring Hanso”, he’d have the bank balance of Elon Musk.

If you see him at his beloved Currumbin Beach Surf Club, which you will, buy the man a beer.

THE QUOTE

“Members hope all the Triathlon Australia staff are enjoying the expensive trip to Birmingham, while athletes are told funding is low for athletes travel to races in 2022. Is the new CEO enjoying his first major games junket?” — Australian triathlon legend emma carney on Twitter. Toot! Toot! The Gravy Train will be departing from platform three in …

THUMBS UP

There’s throwing tin around the gym and then there’s throwing tin above your head successfully not once but six times to claim Commonwealth Games gold as England’s Emily Campbell did in the super-heavyweight weightlifting.

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THUMBS DOWN

It may have taken five days, but sure enough some Australian supporter had to shout out “Aussie! Aussies! Aussies! I heard! I heard! I heard!” Unless it was out of respect to Black Sabbath frontman and local Brummie Ozzy Osbourne, may we never hear this godforsaken utterance ever again. Thank you.

Get all the latest news from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games here. We’ll be live blogging the action from 4pm-10am daily.

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