Browning’s 100m heat victory

Browning’s 100m heat victory

Rohan Browning’s historic 100m sets up the night of his life

Rohan Browning sent his coach “over the moon”, his family “giddy” and the athletics experts searching for superlatives when he flashed to an historic victory in his Olympic 100m heat, slaying a quality field and becoming the second fastest Australian of all time.

Now the Trinity old boy is hoping to go even quicker when he lines up in Tokyo tonight in the semi-finals (from 8.15pm to 8.31pm) and, hopefully, the final itself at 10.50pm.

Both he and his one and only coach, Trinity’s Director of Athletics Andrew Murphy, believe he can make it all the way.

The 23-year-old flashed home in 10.01 seconds, beating his previous personal best of 10.05, and coming agonisingly close to breaking the magical 10-second barrier.

His relaxed, powerful and stylish run was too good even for second-placed Jamaican Yohan Blake, owner of four Olympic medals.

Asked later on Channel Seven if he could make the final, Rohan declared: “Without a doubt. The pundits have been saying it would be great (for me) to make the final. But I’ve never been here just to make the final, no matter what the bookies say or the pundits or the punters.

“So I hope there are a few more believers tonight.”

He was also quick to acknowledge his coach, who has trained him ever since he first started taking athletics seriously in Year 9 at Trinity.

“Thanks Murph for getting me in shape. I’ve got a lot of trust in my coach.”

Mr Murphy, himself a three-time Olympian, was almost lost for words. “I’m over the moon,” he told Trinity News. “To perform like that at the Olympics, to take massive scalps like Blake….

“It’s been a great journey, very special, ever since Year 9. He’s a home-grown Trinity boy who has become the fastest Australian ever at an international competition.”

Rohan’s time was two-hundredths of a second faster than Matt Shirvington’s career best; only Patrick Johnson’s 9.93 seconds in 1993 is better amongst Aussies.

Back at home in Sutherland shire, glued to their TV set, was Rohan’s family – dad Andrew, mum Liz, his Trinitarian brothers – James, who finished school last year, and Year 11 student Hugh – and the family dog Trigger.

“We’re all a bit giddy here,” his mum Liz Jackson told Trinity News. “We are standing around gobsmacked. We are all absolutely thrilled for him. We could not be happier. All his hard work is paying off.

“Rohan wanted to be the best in Australia, then he wanted to take on the world. Now he is on his way.

“He thinks the world of Murph,” she added. “It’s definitely a joint effort.”

TV commentators were beside themselves with excitement.

Like a prospector finding gold, Channel Seven’s Bruce McAvaney exclaimed: “We’ve got one! We’ve found one! Could you dare to dream after that? Could he make the final? He can.”

Fellow commentator Tamsyn Manou, noting that Rohan had achieved a 99.93 ATAR in 2015, played guitar, spoke some French and was studying arts/law at Sydney University, asked: “Is there anything he can’t do?”

Rohan said he probably had one of the “stiffest” heats, but added: “You’d rather do it the hard way. It’s a lot more satisfying. You’ve got to front up to everyone at some point anyway.”

His coach’s most immediate task was to get his preparation underway for the biggest night of his sporting life.

That meant some physical treatment back at the Olympic village, an ice bath, a bite to eat, a chance to wind down with a movie, then a good night’s sleep.

After a lie-in, Rohan will spend his Sunday relaxing in the morning , walking a little and doing some mobility work before returning to the track around 5.30 or 6pm.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Mr Murphy. “The immediate thing is to get him recovered. It’s all about process and the basics. That’s the whole point of training. It’s about consistency. We’ll celebrate when it’s all over.

“These are tough times because of COVID. If the Olympics can deliver something positive that’s fantastic.”

As for Rohan’s prospects of going into sub-10 second territory, Mr Murphy said he ran a wind-assisted 9.96 earlier this year in Wollongong, adding: “So he has been there.”

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