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Dublin: 15 °C Tuesday 20 August, 2019
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Australian athletes wait nearly four minutes to hug the last-place finisher in the 10,000m

The Commonwealth Games really lived up to their ‘Friendly Games’ billing.

Lineo Chaka is greeted by the Australian athletes.
Lineo Chaka is greeted by the Australian athletes.
Image: AAP/PA Images

THE LONELINESS OF the long distance runner no more.

Despite having never attempted the distance before, Lineo Chaka took part in the final of the women’s 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games last night.

As the race unfolded, it was clear the 30-year-old from Lesotho would finish last and she ended up running the final few laps as the only athlete on track.

Indeed 18th place finisher, Beth Porter of Scotland, had crossed the line more than three minutes before Chaka entered the finishing straight with the crowd roaring her on.

When she crossed the line in 36:55.77 — nearly eight minutes outside the world record — she was met by three home athletes – Celia Sullohern, Madeline Hills and Eloise Wellings — who were waiting to greet her.

Sullohern had finished the race sixth in a personal best of 31:50.75 but wanted to show her fellow competitor they were all in it together.

“We’re there for each other and we’re out there having a go,” Sullohern said.

“So, it was lovely to stand out there with those girls in a bit of a show of, I hope, Aussie sportsmanship,” she told Australia’s ABC.

“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,” added Olympian Hills who finished eighth in the race.

“I’d like to think if I had that day there would be someone standing on the track for me.”

For her part, Chaka admitted the pace was too hard for her.

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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