Dave Hughes has slammed online trolls for abusing Australian marathon runner Michael Shelley who jogged past a fallen rival to take a Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Scotland’s Callum Hawkins had been leading the men’s marathon when he became delirious in the 30C heat and fell in the last 1km of the race.
As Hawkins lay helpless on the ground in exhaustion waiting for medical staff, Shelley ran past to claim the gold medal victory.
Gold medal marathon winner Michael Shelley (right) has copped an onslaught of abuse for not stopping to help Callum Hawkins (on ground) who collapsed shortly before the finish line
Dave Hughes has slammed online trolls for abusing Australian marathon runner Michael Shelley who jogged past a fallen rival to take a Commonwealth Gold medal
Since the win, the 34-year-old Australian athlete’s celebration has been mixed with a torrent of hate for his ‘heartless’ failure to help, but Hughes stood up for him.
On the Hit network’s Hughesy & Kate show he said: ‘I’m angry, I’m really angry,’
‘He won the marathon but right now he’s devastated because online trolls are targeting him for his – according to them – heartless failure to stop and help the Scottish guy Hawkins who was in front but hit the wall and fell over.
‘Shelley is so shattered he regards his gold medal as being tarnished.
‘He’s not the Red Cross, alright. We’re not at Gallipoli.’
A Nine News presenter earlier quipped: ‘If he [Shelley] had stopped to help the guy over the finish line, he would be remembered a lot longer as a gold medal winner. It’s that sense of mateship.’
‘I glory in stories of those who stop,’ journalist Peter FitzSimons agreed.
‘But when you’re in those races, there can be no interference. No human contact. He would have been disqualified,’ FitzSimons added.
Scotland’s Callum Hawkins (pictured at front) had been ahead in the men’s marathon when he became delirious in the 30C heat and fell in the last 1km of the race
Public backlash exploded over Twitter as some users called Shelley ‘gutless’ and ‘greedy’.
‘Shame on Michael Shelley for running past a clearly distressed and exhausted Callum Hawkins,’ one person wrote.
‘Surely someone’s health and welfare is more important than a gold medal!’
As Hawkins lay helpless on the ground in exhaustion (pictured) waiting for medical staff, Shelley ran past to claim the gold medal victory
But Shelley has spoken back, saying he was struggling himself to make it to the finish line and denied his actions were callous.
‘It was just what happened,’ he told The Courier Mail.
‘I saw the volunteer beside him and I didn’t see any lead-up. I just saw that he was getting help.’
The athlete admitted that since his win ‘it’s been a tough week’ and reportedly looked like he was going to cry at a party held for Commonwealth Games volunteers.
‘He’s a very decent and sensitive guy, and there’s no doubt he’s been hurt by the criticism, which is totally unwarranted,’ Games chairman Peter Beattie said.
Shelley told the media he has reached out to Hawkins, saying: ‘I just told him I hope he’s better soon and wished him all the best.’
Shelley has spoken back against the trolls, saying he was struggling himself to make it to the finish line and denied his actions were callous