The Launceston runner was inconsolable last night after stumbling within metres of her second victory in the 120m carnivals showpiece.
Devonport 200m winner Katie Moore couldn't believe her luck as she completed a carnivals double, with Sarah Williams, of NSW, second and Ulverstone's Sharelle Preston third. Johnston, who used the heartbreak of a shattering defeat in her Burnie debut to come back and win the race in 2001, burst into tears in the arms of her coach Graham Haskell after a stumble brought on by ferocious headwinds.
Running off 4.5m, Johnston clocked the fastest time in the heats and semis and was scorching towards the $3600 title when the conditions took their toll inside the final 10m.
"It's not the way I wanted to win it," said an apologetic Moore.
The 25-year-old Melburnian, who ran off 8m, did well to contain the celebrations of her biggest career win and admitted she thought Johnston was going to win.
"These conditions don't favour me. I knew Tamika is a good starter and I knew how good she is. Maybe she was trying too hard, I don't know.
"But I'm absolutely rapt. It's been an excellent carnivals series for me."
Athletics Tasmania president Brian Roe had little doubt that the luckless Johnston would bounce back.
"She was an absolute victim of the wind," he said.
"A girl of her height trying to get her knees up into the wind was difficult. It has caused her to hit the ground with her feet.
"But she has much bigger fish to fry."
Johnston remains a strong favourite to make the 4x100m relay team for the Commonwealths in Melbourne in March.
Her fellow Tasmanian Commonwealth hopeful Melissa Kay, of Burnie, returned from injury to run her first carnival of the season but was eliminated in the semi-final running off 2.75m.