Australia’s relationship with sportsmanship took an upswing at the Commonwealth Games on Monday night.
Australia’s three 10,000m runners – Eloise Wellings, Celia Sullohern and Madeline Hills – provided one of “the moments” of the games at Cararra Stadium.
With the near-capacity crowd cheering her on, the three Aussies – the only athletes remaining on the track – cheered home Lineo Chaka, representing the southern African nation of Lesotho.
The trio then hugged Chaka as she finished, more than five minutes behind gold-medallist Stella Chesang from Uganda.
Former University of Newcastle student Sullohern, coached by Adamstown Olympian Scott Westcott, produced a spirited display to finish sixth in a personal best of 31:50.75.
For Sullohern the show of support for Chaka was simply what she and her teammates had wanted to do.
"We're there for each other and we're out there having a go," Sullohern said.
After the race, Chaka admitted the "pace was too hard" for her.
"All of us just went out there hoping to do the best we could on the day, and sometimes that's 31 minutes and sometimes that's 35 minutes," Hills said.
Months after winning high-level triathlon and marathon events, the multi-talented Sullohern delivered the middle-distance performance of her life on the Gold Coast.
"I'd like to think if I had that day there would be someone standing on the track for me."- Madeline Hills
The 25-year-old from Yamba knocked more than 30 seconds off her personal best on Monday night, clocking 31 minutes 50.75 seconds to finish sixth.
Sullohern dug in and kept pace with gold medallist Stella Chesang and her fellow Ugandan and Kenyan pacesetters before surging into third with four laps to go.
Every move she made evoked an almighty roar from the Carrara Stadium crowd and, even with half a lap remaining, she was still fourth and chasing down the bronze before finally being overtaken.
"Absolutely thrilling to be out there racing in front of the Aussie crowd, I really feel like it lifted me," Sullohern said.
"I wanted to do it in the last lap, I didn't quite have it but it's so exciting.
"I'm really excited to come and have another dig in the 5000m on Saturday."
Madeline Hills (32:01.04) finished eighth while fellow Rio Olympics finalist Eloise Wellings (32:51.47) settled for 16th.
- with Australian Associated Press
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