Commonwealth Games organisers were heavily criticised for the lack of medical attention given to Scotland's Callum Hawkins after he collapsed when in the lead of the men's marathon on Sunday.

Hawkins had built up a lead of more than two minutes and was less than 2km to the finish line when he wobbled alarmingly and collapsed onto the road in brutally hot conditions.

He struggled back to his feet and managed to continue for another 100m, but then fell again. Despite several attempts to regain his footing for a second time, he was unable to stand and hit his head on a roadside barrier in the process.

As spectators took photos of him lying distressed on the road, it took several minutes for medical attention to arrive. When it finally did, the paramedic waited some time before helping him.

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Hawkins was eventually put on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to hospital, where he was due to remain overnight.

"Callum Hawkins continues to make a good recovery from the heat exhaustion and subsequent collapse he experienced," said Team Scotland.

 Callum Hawkins of Scotland collapses as he competes in the Men's marathon. Photo / Getty Images.
Callum Hawkins of Scotland collapses as he competes in the Men's marathon. Photo / Getty Images.

Many of Hawkins' Scottish team-mates reacted angrily to the lack of medical attention given to their compatriot, while BBC Sport commentator Steve Cram called it a "disgrace". Paula Radcliffe said there were "big questions" for Commonwealth Games organisers.

Mark Peters, Gold Coast chief executive, defended the response of his team and said medical staff were posted at 500m intervals in the closing stages of the course.

"We can't have medical people on every corner of the road," he said."They are in professional positions, the same as our Gold Coast marathon when we have 30,000 people. Obviously the health of the athlete is absolutely prime.

"Sometimes the athlete has to make a decision as to whether they want to go on or not. I understand that was part of the discussion at a point in time.

"Incredibly athletes, in whatever state they are in, want to finish. We've seen that in other marathons."

He added: "I was concerned about the behaviour of a small number of bystanders who chose to take images. This is not in keeping with the spirit of Gold Coast 2018."

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 Callum Hawkins of Scotland collapses as he competes in the Men's marathon. Photo / Getty Images.
Callum Hawkins of Scotland collapses as he competes in the Men's marathon. Photo / Getty Images.

Hawkins' collapse allowed Australia's Michael Shelley to pass him on the ground and claim back-to-back Commonwealth titles in two hours 16 minutes and 46 seconds. Munyo Solomon Mutai, of Uganda, won silver with Scotland's Robbie Simpson taking bronze.

With the temperature pushing 30 degrees in the Gold Coast, Hawkins was not the only athlete to struggle. Tanzania's Saidi Juma Makula also collapsed close to the finish line and an incredible seven of the 24 starters failed to complete the race as the conditions took their toll.

However, Peters insisted the heat was not a problem.

"Athletes run in snow, they run in 30-odd degree heat so we don't think that's an issue," he said.

"Unfortunately athletes do run themselves to exhaustion and there is rarely a marathon where someone isn't collapsing."