Commonwealth Games: Scot Marc Austin delighted with bronze medal in triathlon
Last updated on .From the section Commonwealth Games
|2018 Commonwealth Games|
|Venue: Gold Coast, Australia Dates: 4-15 April|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with extra streams on Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and app; listen on Radio 5 live; follow text updates online. Times and channels|
Marc Austin, a bundle of euphoric exhaustion, spoke about how it took the "performance of his life" to win Scotland's first medal at these Commonwealth Games.
In an illustrious field, including the peerless Olympic and world champion Alistair Brownlee, and his formidable brother, Jonny, the Glaswegian took an unexpected bronze in the triathlon.
What did it mean to open Scotland's account on the medal table? "I've no words," he said.
Actually, he had many and they told the story of an athlete who finished 22nd in Glasgow four years ago. "Nothing comes close to this," said the 24-year-old. "I've had performances when I've delivered results but to come away with a medal is great. I've not medalled in two and a bit years."
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The triathlon was played out amid tough conditions. Just before the start of the 750m swim that kicked things off, a tropical storm blew in and everything became that bit harder. The roaring hot favourite was Alistair Brownlee. The expectation was that Jonny might push him close and that Henri Schoeman, the Olympic bronze medallist from South Africa, would complete the podium.
Schoeman was there all right. He won gold. Jake Birtwhistle of Australia won silver and Austin held off the challenge of another home favourite, Matt Hauser, the world junior champion, to get bronze on the biggest and most dramatic day of his athletics life.
'The end was a rollercoaster'
The Scot suffered out there. "The (5km) at the end was a rollercoaster," Austin said. "I felt really good one minute and really bad the next. I was in second and then I saw the other boys coming really fast behind me and I thought this might be fifth or sixth. When Birtwhistle went past me into second I just tried to switch off. I tried to focus. I tried to think about nothing else but moving my arms and legs.
"It worked for a while but then my whole body shut down. They were pretty worrying moments. I thought it was all over. There was under 1km to go and I was really worried. I was thinking that this was going to be one of those agonising fourth places where you're caught on the line."
The dramatic demise of the Brownlees on the 5km run was a sensation in itself, but the steel that Austin showed in getting himself over the line for a medal was a thrill. "Deep down I believed I could do it, but I also knew that I could have the race of my life and come 10th.
"I'm just so happy that the race of my life was third. My mum, my brother, my cousins are all here. I can't wait to see them. My brother and my cousins will be all right, but my mum will be hyped-up. She just loves watching these races."
More than any other race she has ever seen, Jude Austin will bask in this one the longest.
(It is somewhat ironic that Scotland's best sports writer is the author of this piece, Tom ENGLISH....)
Fantastic effort Mark well done.