Stewart McSweyn ran the first of his two events on Sunday and was the first Australian home in fifth in the 5000 metres.
“I'm pretty pleased. I would have loved a medal, that was the goal going in,” said the 22-year-old King Islander.
“It was a pretty classy field. I tried to hang on as long as I could but when they went with about 900m to go I knew I was in a bit of trouble because the pace had been so up and down.
“With two laps to go I was thinking I was still a chance of a medal. I tried to go as hard as I could that second-last lap. I did my best and ended up fifth so I'm happy.”
Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei won the gold medal in 13:50.83 from Canadian Mohammed Ahmed and Edward Zakayo, of Kenya, with McSweyn clocking 13:58.96 in a tight, tactical race.
Twelve years ago, the King Island District High School student was inspired to take up athletics by watching Craig Mottram contest the same event at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and said he was proud to reach the same level.
5th for Stewart McSweyn in the 5,000m at @GC2018! A superb run by 'the Mayor of King Island', clocking 13:58.96 and mixing it with some of the world's best distance runners. He made the moves when required, and gave himself every chance - a proud home state! 👏 #athstaspic.twitter.com/BPGBcgRfw2— Athletics Tasmania (@AthsTas) April 8, 2018
“I was thinking about that when I was out there. I was imagining what he was thinking when I saw him in 2006 and that was a little bit cool,” he said.
“It's been a goal ever since I watched those Commonwealth Games to one day hopefully compete at one and to be able to do that on the first day of athletics is pretty special.”
McSweyn said he had enjoyed catching up with former cross-country rival Jake Birtwhistle, watching his medal-winning success in the triathlon and knowing he was in the stadium to watch his event.
“I had dinner with him the night before his triathlon so I gave him a bit of a pump up and that obviously worked and he said he was coming here with the triathlon team to give me a bit of extra support and that was appreciated,” he said.
McSweyn, who has experience at athletics, cross-country and university world championships, will also run the 10,000m on Friday evening.
“I've got five days to recover so I'll be ready to go,” he said.
“I'll do a couple of light sessions but am expecting it to be a tough race again.”