Rohan Browning has produced his best run of the year to send a message at the Commonwealth Games.
The 24-year-old won his heat in a time of 10.10 in a spectacular turnaround from the World Championships in Oregon last month where he was unable to get out of the heats.
The cult hero, popularly referred to as ‘The Flying Mullet’, said he even has more power in the tank to go quicker in Birmingham.
Browning, who famously ran 10.01 to win his heat at the Tokyo Olympics last year, looks like he is the real deal once again.
His time sees him go through to the semi-finals as the equal-fourth fastest runner, but the fact that he did it while easing up at the back end says everything.
“He looked really confident there,” Aussie athletics great Tamsyn Manou said.
“The gun went and he reacted well and he stayed relaxed through those middle phases. Even at the back end, he looked like he switched off a little bit and looked to his side of him and said ‘I’ve got this’.
“This is very similar to his heat at Tokyo. He opens up that leg stride. I have got
a nice forward lean. You can still tell he is looking across and he has got a bit more. Look at that face. He is so relaxed. That is exactly what you want to see from a sprinter running at top pace. He will be very happy with that.”
It’s a sign that the magical 10.0 second mark could finally fall for him.
“I always planned on running this round hard, at this level you have to treat every round with respect, but there’s two more rounds to come,” he said.
“I don’t want a repeat of Tokyo where I was out in the semis. I want to keep a bit of powder dry for the finals.”
He said part of his bounce back from the world championships is the “humiliating” factor of failing to reach the semi-finals.
“I try not to take it to heart,” he said.
“There’s always that humiliation element when you get run out in the heats, but just trying to bounce back from it and not take it to heart and just trust that the form is there, it’s just in the execution. I think I’ve tapped into a good vein of form.”
Jake Doran, Australia’s second-fastest man, also qualified for the 100m semi-finals, finishing second in his heat with a time of in 10.39 seconds.
Browning’s time was just 0.04 seconds short of being the fastest in the heats.