There have been questions raised recently about the relevance of the Commonwealth Games. From witnessing the 2018 games on the Gold Coast in April, I can ensure everyone that the games have meaning.
The sight of Callum Hawkins – who was leading the Commonwealth Games Marathon – lying crumpled on the ground, barely conscious after hitting his head on a concrete paling, yet trying to continue on, was inspirational and moving but difficult to watch.
For the officials to not intervene after the Scottish runner had stumbled more than once, and when it was clearly obvious that he was distressed and in serious need of medical attention, was a blight on the Commonwealth Games.
Regardless of the rules pertaining to runners being disqualified for receiving assistance, sanity should have prevailed.
Hawkins should have been cared for the moment that he stumbled and hit his head.
Even though Hawkins told the BBC that he had refused medical assistance for fear of being disqualified, officials should have taken the decision out of his hands.
Thankfully, Hawkins has made a full recovery, but serious consideration should be given to re-writing the rule relating to athletes being unable to receive assistance.
The health and welfare of athletes should be paramount, so why didn’t the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee bring forward the start time of both marathons to an earlier time, considering how hot and humid it was?
As we all know, contractual arrangements don’t allow for schedules to be altered at major sporting events. Until the day comes when the welfare of athletes is genuinely the priority, it’s only a matter of time before we see a similar occurrence.
Let’s hope when it does happen that the officials offer assistance far quicker.