Rohan Browning made no effort to hide his disappointment after finishing sixth in an “ugly and painful” 100m final at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
But the Sydneysider could also reflect on the giant strides he had made in the past fortnight just to make it to the gold-medal race.
After bombing out in the opening round at the world championships in Eugene, Browning seriously considered pulling the pin on his Commonwealth campaign.
Instead he hung tough and regrouped, becoming the first Australian since Aaron Rouge-Serret in Delhi 12 years ago to contest the blue-riband final.
Browning made a solid start to Wednesday’s title race but was unable to respond when the big guns made their moves.
Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala claimed gold in 10.02 seconds, with the minor medals going to defending champ Akani Simbine from South Africa (10.13) and Yupun Abeykoon from Sri Lanka (10.14).
Browning stopped the clock in 10.20 – slower than his opening-round heat time of 10.10 and his semi-final effort of 10.17.
“I’m not happy with it; just an ugly, painful kind of race,” said Browning, who set his PB of 10.01 at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s one of those tough nights, it’s cold out here and – at the risk of sounding like an NRL player – full credit to the guys who got on the podium.
“(But) I am heading in the right direction.
“A month ago I didn’t see myself in this final.
“I thought about packing it in after worlds and just getting back home and into some training for next year but I am glad I decided to persist.
“I think one of the lessons I have learned is persistence is so much more important than patience.
“You have just got to keep trying things and keep at it.”
The only Australian man to win the Commonwealth 100m title was John Treloar in 1950, while the most recent medal was a bronze to Mike Cleary in 1962.
Brandon Starc came up just short in his bid for a second successive Commonwealth high jump title.
Starc claimed the silver behind New Zealander Hamish Kerr after both cleared 2.25m.
“That was probably the toughest comp I’ve ever had,” Starc said.
“I had to withdraw from the world champs because of the bruised heel and throughout that comp, besides the first jump, I was feeling every bit of that bruised heel.
“Really, I just had to grit my teeth and jump through it.”
Five-time Paralympic champion Evan O’Hanlon claimed a commanding victory in the men’s T37-38 100m final in 11.23.
Five-time Olympic gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah from Jamaica won the women’s 100m in the absence of Jamaica’s other two sprint queens Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Shericka Jackson.
Thompson-Herah clocked 10.95 ahead of Julien Alfred from St Lucia (11.01) and England’s Daryll Neita (11.07).
Scotland’s Eilish McColgan produced the performance of the evening, storming home over the top of Kenyan Irine Cheptai in the final straight to win the women’s 10,000m in a Games record of 30:48.60.
McColgan is the daughter of Scottish distance running great Liz McColgan, who won the same event at the 1986 and 1990 Commonwealth Games and the 1991 world championships.
Australian Izzi-Batt Doyle was eighth.
England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson, the 2019 world champion, won the women’s heptathlon with 6377 points.
Northern Ireland’s Kate O’Connor was second, England’s Jade O’Dowda was third and Australian Taneille Crase finished fifth with a PB of 6026 points.