Aussie great John Steffensen savages Rohan Browning over ‘amateur hour’ relay debacle – Michmutters

Aussie great John Steffensen savages Rohan Browning over ‘amateur hour’ relay debacle

Former Aussie 400m star John Steffensen has blasted Australia’s relay debacle at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games as “amateur hour”.

Australia looked on track to qualify for the final of the 4x100m but it all fell apart at the final change when Rohan Browning tripped over his own feet and hit the deck.

It was a disappointing result after the team of Josh Azzopardi, Jacob Despard, Jack Hale and Browning crashed out.


After an impressive showing, the commentators were stunned by the moment.

“The last change only has to be clean,” McAvaney started to say before Tamsyn Lewis shrieked in the commentary box as Browning hit the deck.

“Oh he’s fallen over. I can’t believe it. I cannot believe it.

“A disaster for the Australians.


“I’ve never seen anything quite like it to be truthful.”

“That was awful,” Lewis-Manou added.

“He looks devastated. Rohan would not have been able to do a lot of this training, he would have been focusing on getting his body right. He just really stumbled when he took his acceleration phase.”

Still can’t believe it happened. Photo by David Ramos/Getty ImagesSource: Supplied

In looking for reasons behind the stumble, from a belief Browning struggled with not starting in the blocks or that he wasn’t confident starting on the bend rather than on the straight.

One who wasn’t looking for excuses was 2006 Commonwealth Games 400m gold medalist and Olympic 4x400m relay silver medalist John Steffensen.

“If that was a final, I’d kind of accept it because you really want to push your relay change zone passovers,” he said on Channel 7.

“You really want to push them out a bit, you want to take a bit more risk because you’re running against the best, or some of the best in the world, in the Commonwealth.

“But that was amateur hour last night. To see what happened with Rohan, I do not know what was going through his brain.

“Accidents happen, mistakes happen track and field, yes, I get it.

“But it’s one of those things, I’ve done it (many) times in training. Sometimes you want to push, you really push the barriers and the angle you want to come out of your drive because that’s how you go fast.

“In training you sort of go low, low and you will sort of work your way back up. Then you find a comfortable position that you can take off from.”

Rohan Browning was hoping for more. Photo by David Ramos/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Former Olympic 100m sprinter turned Channel 7 presenter Matt Shirvington said he knew how Browning felt, having been in a similar position in the 2006 Commonwealth Games 4x100m final.

In that final, Australia appeared headed for a medal but Shirvington took off a touch early and Adam Miller couldn’t catch him to pass the baton.

Shirvington said Browning would be “gutted.”

“Rohan more than most of them because the other boys have been there waiting to compete,” Shirvington told Channel 7.

“Rohan knows that coming into this he was going to have quite a bit of speed, he’s in good shape.

“I have been there before, I’ve been there a couple of times.

“I have been there at a packed MCG at the Commonwealth Games at the same change in the final and we haven’t made it happen.”

Browning did admit he was “gutted” soon after, apologizing to his teammates, who were on the team specifically for the relay.

“I’m so sorry. I know these boys put in so much work. In my years in athletics, nothing like this has ever happened and, hopefully, it never happens again.

“I just caught my toe and slipped. It has never happened before in training or in races.”

Browning looked horrified. Photo: Channel 7Source: Channel 7

Teammate Jack Hale was quick to console Browning both after the race and in the post-match interviews.

“It’s a relay. There are so many variables and these things happen. It is what it is,” Hale told Channel 7.

Browning finished sixth in the individual 100m final, falling just 0.06 seconds short of a bronze medal at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.

It was the closest Australia has got to winning a medal in the men’s blue ribbon event since Matt Shirvington’s lightning time of 10.03 still wasn’t enough for him to get a medal at the 1998 Games.

Australia has never won a medal in the men’s event since the Commonwealth Games changed the distance to 100m in 1970. Now we have to wait at least four more years.


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