The Courier-Mail

Sprinter brushes empty feeling

- JOE BARTON

THE fastest man in Australia would love to have his Pat Cash moment in Tokyo this year – jumping into the stands to celebrate with friends and family after achieving his Olympic dream.

COVID has killed that dream for 100m sprint star Rohan Browning (pictured), who booked his ticket with a blistering 10.05sec last month, but he has come to terms with the prospect of competing in a cavernous arena devoid of internatio­nal fans.

Foreign spectators will be shut out from the delayed Tokyo Olympics, which will take place from July 23 – 12 months after the 2020 Games were sidelined by the global pandemic.

“It’ll be a shame – it’s always so lovely when you get to share those moments with your family and friends, so it definitely strips you of that opportunit­y,” Browning said on Tuesday.

“It’ll be very different running in an empty stadium. But I think it’s important to go into the Olympics without a preconcept­ion of what it should look or feel like because nobody knows.

“It’s such a unique event in such a unique period of history, so I’ll just be trying to focus on the track.

“But it’s part of being in an individual sport as well.

“Hopefully my coach can get over there and maybe there’ll be a Pat Cash-style with the team administra­tors and physio and doctor.”

The 23-year-old, who became the third-fastest Australian in history when he clocked 10.05sec at the Queensland Track Classic in March, does see a silver lining to the COVID cloud.

It could remove one distractio­n on the biggest stage.

“It might actually take a load off because sometimes you walk into the stadium and you look around and see if you can pick them out, so you definitely won’t be thinking about that,” Browning said.

Browning’s family and friends will be cheering him on from Olympic live sites.

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