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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

IAAF - more bolts fall on the turf - will that make the revision of the rules ?

Yet another disqualification – events happening at  IAAF World Championships at Daegu. In Cricket, there is an interesting legend that when WG Grace was batting,  he told the Umpire that the crowds had come all the way to see him play and not him getting out !  Performance of the top notch is what crowds gather to see….

Usain Bolt’s shock dethroning in 100M sprint before the race was won is raging over.    There is some twist with news that it was the gold-medallist Yohan Blake who had made the first movement ahead of the gun.  Bolt was disqualified as he emerged too early from his blocks  to be disqualified. Distraught, he tore off his shirt and held his head in disbelief.  It was the interpretation of a new rule in effect since January 1, 2010 meaning an immediate ejection for a false start.

The Jamaican Blake, Bolt's training partner, was crowned the youngest ever world champion at 21.  Whoever it was it is the zero tolerance rule that is being debated now.   There is debate on whether this needs to be diluted for the London 2012 Olympics so that fans get to see the real fight in 100m final on 5th Aug 2012. Sure Bolt is a superstar who has dominated the event but in fairness whether the sudden death rule should be revisited for a solitary performance of an individual is debatable !!  The original rule stated that each runner was allowed one false start but would be disqualified for a second break.   Reverting back to the two-start rule brings advantages to others, but it also heightens the tension for fans and feels fairer, even if the great starters deliberately break and then have the field under exactly the same pressure as the no false start rule. 

No man should ever be bigger than the Sport itself !  I fail to see logic in the argument that those who pay …. pounds a ticket to watch the definitive track race will feel justifiably robbed by a rule.  There are comparisons that an identical rule has been in place in swimming for 13 years and has attracted little controversy in that period, even when  highest-profile victim of swimming's sudden-death rule was Ian Thorpe in 2004 Olympic trials, when he fell in before the start of the 400m freestyle. 

Calling it Daegu disappointment sounds ok but to review the rules would make it Daegu disaster.  In any Sports, there would be rules and there could be disqualifications which could be unfortunate and could rob the competition of its flair, still rules are rules, without which much needed discipline could not be bartered.  But as I was about to post this, there is more news !

Dayron Robles from Cuba,  is another star in tracks,  who specialises in the 110 metre hurdles. Dayron Robles became another high-profile disqualification at the World Championships as he was stripped of his 110m hurdles gold medal.  The 110 metres hurdles is a hurdling track and field event for men and strangely its female counterpart is the 100 metre hurdles. As part of a racing event, ten hurdles of 1.067 metres (3.5 ft or 42 inches) in height are evenly spaced along a straight course of 110 metres. They are positioned so that they will fall over if bumped into by the runner. Fallen hurdles do not carry a fixed time penalty for the runners, but they have a significant pull-over weight which slows down the run.

Dayron Robles set a World record of 12.87 seconds in 2008 and won the 2008 Beijing Olympics in 12.93 seconds. Injury ruled him out for much of 2009, but he returned strongly with a championship record win at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships.   Robles made contact with China's Liu Xiang and was disqualified after the Chinese appealed, handing Jason Richardson the gold and Liu the silver. An appeal from the Cuban team was rejected and Britain's Andy Turner was awarded the bronze medal.

Bolt is not alone; he has D Robles, C Ohyruogu (women's 400m), D Chambers (100m), J Cuddihy (women's 400m) and some more athletes in the list of those who were eliminated technically.  

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

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