Look, I really admire Dafne Schippers. She is one of the finest athletes in Europe, and a favorite of mine to interview. But, after the lack of transparency by DL management, Dafne will deal with the DQ, then, not a DQ.
It was obvious that Dafne Schippers false started. She knew it. It reminded me of when Usain Bolt false started in Daegu in 2011, and realized his mistake. What was not obvious was why Dafne, the finest women sprinter in Europe, false started. Ms. Schippers, as is her right, protested. She noted that she could not hear the start. The viewers could not see that, nor could the Eurosport TV crew. In her defense, Dafne Schippers has very seldom had such an issue in major events.
Dafne Schippers was disqualied after the meet, then, she was reinstated. No explanation given. In an era when terrestrial TV, streaming video and social media give athletes more and more fans, the Diamond League should have provided an explanation for the reinstatement. By not responding, they leave fans, athletes and observers with a disagreeable feeling about the meet. An explanation of the decision was all that was needed.
It just adds to the confusion many have with our sport. In truth, the Bislett Games had mucht to be happy with, including a brilliant HJ record by Mutaz Barshim, breaking the three decade plus record of Javier Sotomayor.
Here’s Stuart Weir’s third piece from Oslo, a nice round up of the meet’s highlights.
The Bislett Games saw a number of outstanding performances.
- Andre de Grasse won the 100m in 10.01, one hundredth of a second ahead of Chijindu Ujah of GB.
- Caster Semanya won the 800 metres in 1:57.59 to remain unbeaten this year
- Pamela Dutkiewicz of Germany won the 100H in 12.73 to maintain her 100% record this season.
- Baboloki Thebe of Botswana won the 400 in 44.95, his first ever Diamond League win.
- Tianna Bartoletta won the long jump with 6.79 from Darya Klishina (6.75), one of the Russian athletes allowed to compete under a neutral flag.
- Mutaz Essa Barshim won the high jump with a WL of 2.38
One of the performances of the day was Jake Wightman’s victory in the 1500 in 3:34.17, a PR. Wightman, who only got his place in the race on Monday, admitted to being shocked by the win: “My race plan was to start off pretty settled because I knew if they went off hard they would come back. I am usually quite strong on the last lap so I put all my money on that – to come through on the last 300. I felt pretty good on the home straight so I just about got away with it”.
The women’s 200 metres turned into a complete farce, which does our sport no credit at all. The athletes were recalled. The pictures of the big screen showed clearly that Dafne Schippers had false-started. The timings confirmed this but after a conversation with the officials, Schippers returned to her marks.
Schippers then won the race in 22.33 and as it was her birthday, “Happy Birthday to you” was sung to her as she received her winner’s presentation. Schippers said after the race: “It was noisy at the start, so much noise, very hard to concentrate. Second start was bad, but the race was at the end ok. I’m taking it as birthday gift this win. Also such races are happening and I must accept it”.
Another athlete in race who did not want to named told me: “It was definitely a false start but is not for me to say”
After the presentation to Schippers,the Dutch athlete was disqualified and Muriel Ahoure (Ivory Coast) was announced as the winner. Then Schippers was reinstated and Ivet Lalova-Collivo disqualified.
Reuters reported: “But all the drama surrounded Schippers, celebrating her 25th birthday, who made a false start in her race but was allowed to continue after signalling to officials that she could not hear. The Dutchwoman won comfortably in 22.31 seconds before her disqualification was announced and Ivorian Murielle Ahoure, who finished in 22.74, was handed the win. However, one hour later, the Diamond League organisers tweeted: ‘Confirmation: Dafne Schippers reinstated as winner in the 200m with a time of 22.31.’ No further explanation was given.
This simply makes a mockery of our sport and makes the organizers look very amateurish