The war of words between officials and spectators involved in the distressing incident surrounding collapsed marathon runner Callum Hawkins has exploded.

Marathon greats, including world record holder Paula Radcliffe, have slammed officials on the Gold Coast for the time it took for the Scottish runner to receive aid.

However, Gold Coast 2018 chief executive Mark Peters took the extraordinary step on Sunday of publicly calling out some of the spectators that stood near the distressed runner after he had fallen near the railing on a Gold Coast bridge.

One witness to the upsetting ordeal, Rodney West, who is a resident of Southport, told The Gold Coast Bulletin spectators tried to help Hawkins, only to be waved away by Hawkins himself and then by officials.

Advertisement

"He crawled around on the ground for two or three minutes," Mr West said.

Mr West asked the volunteers to move their umbrella to shade the struggling athlete.

"They had to clear it with officials to move it off the bridge and over the runner," he said.

He said he was surprised it took so long for officials to come to the aid of Hawkins considering he was leading the race.

However, Peters after the race accused some of the spectators of acting outside the spirit of the Commonwealth Games by taking photos of Hawkins as he lay on the bitumen.

Gold Coast 2018 chief executive Mark Peters said in a statement officials were only able to provide assistance when Hawkins eventually requested it.

He also hit out at some of the spectators on the bridge for taking photos, saying their actions were "not in the spirit" of the Games.

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.

"I like many others was distressed to see a wonderful athlete like Callum collapse during the closing stages of today's Marathon," Peters said.

Advertisement

"We are offering every assistance possible to Callum and Team Scotland.

"I was also concerned about the behaviour of a small number of bystanders who chose to take images. This is not in keeping with the spirit of GC2018.

He said medical staff had been placed strategically every 500m along the marathon route and had radios to respond to medical aid requests when they were made.

The explanation for why medical assistance took so long did little to appease critics of Games officials.

World record holder Paula Radcliffe said the danger to Hawkkins' health should never have been allowed.

Hawkins' friend and middle distance runner Andrew Butchart also tweeted his dismay at why nobody helped the 25-year-old.

"Someone f***ing help him!!!" Butchart tweeted.

Retired British track and field great Steve Cram told the BBC the response from officials was a disgrace.

"I'm just concerned for his welfare," Cram said.

"He hit his head on the barrier. I'm sorry if you're watching this at home, it's really distressing. He's going to hurt himself and there's nobody anywhere near. We should have some more medical attention.

"This is a guy in real distress and someone needs to recognise it for his health at this point. Where on earth is the help? You cannot just wait at the finish line. They've got radios. And finally somebody arrives. I think it's disgraceful."

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.

Commonwealth Games Scotland chair Paul Bush has formally asked Gold Coast organisers why Hawkins did not receive quicker treatment after collapsing twice in the marathon.

Team Scotland say he is talking, and likely to make a full recovery.

Bush said the athlete was left "exposed" and feels there should have been "more prompt attention to him".

Team Scotland added that Hawkins will remain in Gold Coast University Hospital overnight as a precaution and will be assessed again in the morning by their medical team.

The Gold Coast organising committee, GOLDOC, have defended the location and number of medical staff available, and point to the fact that an athlete has to request medical attention as any intervention on their part results in disqualification.

"First and foremost we're delighted to say that he's up in bed talking to his father and is being well looked after, both by the hospital staff and the Team Scotland medical staff," Bush told BBC Scotland. "We're confident he'll make a full recovery.

"Words can't express what we felt; having seen him take that nearly two-minute lead, then he started to wobble down at the beach. It was incredibly distressing and very tragic for him and we're just pleased that he's now safe and well in hospital.

"We've now formally raised the matter with the Gold Coast organising committee. As you know the international rules are very clear in that an athlete has to declare themselves unfit to race (before they can receive any medical attention).

"But the second time he fell, he was a little bit exposed and we probably would have liked to see more prompt attention to him.

"So that's something we've raised with the organisers. It's not a time to be critical. It's a time to look, in the cold light of day, to see what lessons can be learned for future marathons around the world in these conditions, which were unbelievably tough."