Here are two commendation awards that Stuart Weir feels should be given around "the crash" in the Men's 1,500 meters.
Today I am awarding two Runblogrun commendations in respect of the IPC World Athletics Championships in Doha. Runblogrun commendations are extremely prestigious but don't carry a high monetary value.
The first commendation goes to the referee. The third heat of the men's 1500 T54 (wheelchair) race ended in carnage, with 5 of the ten athletes taking each other out. As we watched the race continue to a finish - with debris on the track - we joked that this was a Formula One red flag situation. We expected to see the race stopped and the safety car on the track. In reality we thought that it was all over and hard luck for Jake Lappin (see picture) and the rest of the athletes involved in the crash..
In the event the referee decided to re-run the race. Because some of the field had completed the full distance, it would have been unfair to do an immediate rerun. So the rerun was put in as the last event of the programme - three hours later. And our friend Jake qualified in second place. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for the referee to do nothing. Perhaps the referee was familiar with the Edmond Burke quote about the consequences of good men doing nothing.
The issue of second chances for fallers is never an easy one. At the Berlin IAAF 2009 World Championships, for example, I recall controversy when Castor Semanya (South Africa) accidentally tripped Janeth Jepkosgei (Kenya), the defending champion who finished last in the first heat. The Kenyan Federation appealed and she was reinstated to run in the second semi-final, but Semenya was not disqualified as her actions were deemed unintentional. However the organizers made a rod for their own back.
The 1500m final was "won" by Natalia Rodríguez (Spain), when she caught up and tripped the long-time leader, Geleta Burka (Ethiopia), who ended up finishing last. While Rodriguez was disqualified, the final was not re-run and Burka missed out. This week the official made a good decision and a fair one.
The second Runblogrun commendation goes to Terezinha Guilhermina the blind runner from Brazil, who took silver in the T11 400 metres race. Now Terezinha, was the reigning world champion at the event - both in 2013 and 2011. So losing must have been a disappointment. She said of the defeat: "It was very difficult this evening, we slowed down in the final stretch because we got very tired towards the end."
However, by the time of the medal ceremony, she was dancing like a teenager - as if she were winning her first medal - rather than the 14th major medal of her career. I love to see a gracious loser. So well done Terezinha