Track & Field shoots itself in the foot again

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Ryan 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #53244


    The indoor World Championships is going on in Birmingham England right now. With no outdoor World Championships this year (why not???) this is the showcase event of the year.

    So how is it going? It’s been a mess.

    In the men’s 800, Drew Windle finished second. Then he got a DQ for impeding another runner (even though the replay showed the other runner grabbed his arm). An hour or so later, upon appeal, he was reinstated.

    In the men’s 400, the first and second runners across the line got DQ’d for running out of their lanes. I haven’t heard of any reinstatements. I haven’t seen a replay of this so I can’t say whether or not this was legitimate but, if two runners in the race went out of their lanes, we need to ask why. Earlier in the meet, there was an entire heat of the 400 where every runner in the heat got DQ’d.

    In the men’s 3000, Paul Chelimo stepped inside the rail. Seems like an easy DQ to call but many people have pointed out that, in the 2012 Olympics in London, Mo Farah did exactly the same thing in a very similar situation and went on to win the gold. How about a little consistency?

    Track & Field, I love you. Sadly, though, you make it hard. Please stop shooting yourself in the foot.

  • #53247


    Though I would have liked to have seen Donavan Brazier and Paul Chelimo racing in the finals, I don’t feel that I can really complain about those DQs. They and several others broke the rules and the officials enforced those rules. Per Colleen Quigley’s comments, it may have been more challenging to stay on the track with the steeply banked curves, so, I think that athletes should have had access to the track prior ot race day to familiarize themselves with track conditions. As for Farah, perhaps he should have been DQd. It does suck though when outcomes are decided by officiating.

    Perhaps instead of a DQ, they could assess a penalty in the results. The simplest method would be to asses a fraction of a second penalty and then adjust their finish time and place by that amount and disallow that performance for any record consideration. They could also assess a distance penalty (maybe 1m? how much advantage could really be gained with 1 step?) and apply it using finish line photos. A distance penalty would scale better across different running velocities.

    I also thought that athletes could maybe have one free step inside during each race, but then I imagined everyone taking a step inside as they come out of the final turn and that seems ridiculous.

  • #53248


    Honestly, I think the Chelimo DQ was legitimate. He stepped inside the rail, that should be a DQ. What bothers me is the inconsistency. Why was Farah’s step inside the rail in the Olympics not a DQ? Neither went inside the rail due to being pushed or cut off. Neither used going inside the rail to gain a better position or for any competitive advantage other than the minuscule distance saved. So why the different outcome?

    As for the men’s 400, I saw Seb Coe respond to someone that athletes should in the future be allowed to get on the track before the meet to preview it. Apparently, the banking was challenging and causing even highly experienced professional athletes to run out of their lanes. I saw an interesting chart on Twitter (I’ll see if I can find it and share) on DQs by year in the men’s 400 at World Indoors. The number is generally low, with two big spikes this year and the last time Indoor Worlds was on this track.

    As for the idea of a penalty in the results, I get where you’re coming from but I don’t like it. One of the great things about track and field is that it’s black and white. First across the line wins. Beat your opponent to the line. That’s all that matters. If we start assessing penalties, then you lose that.

    I’m not quite sure how IAAF rules are but, when I was in high school, the rules were clear. A single step completely inside the line is a DQ. Three consecutive steps on the line is a DQ.

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