The World Indoor Championships in Birmingham are being marred by offer officiating. It was a problem on day, it became a nightmere on day 2, and now, it is the narrative. Ironically, a conversation with Seb Coe from a year ago, noting that some of the rather arcane rules that hurt the sport need to be revised.
That runners are going out of their lanes is a fact. That they are impending others is not a fact. That several key stars were DQed for events that did not impeed others. The over judging of events will be, unfortunately, one of the narratives of this championships. The IAAF now had another problem that can mar the sport.
Consider this, why would a family of four come to a major championships, and see, to their horror that, after they watch a fantastic 400 meters, the gold and silver medalist are DQed for impeding other athletes’ progress?
That is the issue, before the 400 meter and 800 meter fiascos, there was over 25 DQs, so anything after that was questioned. How could this happen in the birth place of modern track & field?
What about Federations that file complaints, hoping to get their athletes a medal? It sure seems like what is happening.
Our sport has bumping and physical contact, get over it.
A 400 meter heat where all in the heat are DQed?
The sport needs an Ombudman, someone who is above the Jury of Appeals, and brings people to their senses. This is like a Monty Python episode, The Athletes who run out of lanes.
Please read this well considered piece by our English friend who I thought was a Scot, J. Stuart Weir.
From the sublime to the ridiculous
The evening of Day 3 produced many magnificent moments of outstanding brilliance and compelling high drama. Sadly the evening was also marred by moments of farce and controversy.
Starting with the good:
Christian Coleman won the 60m from Bingtian Su. The only disappointment was that Coleman was 3 hundredths of a second outside the World Record.
Genzebe Dibaba won the 1500m to pull off a two-day double of 3000m and 1500m. She really is a class act.
Keni Harrison won her first global title in the 60m hurdles in 7.70 to equal the World Lead. Winner of the IAAF Indoor series, Christina Manning was second in 7.79, in a race where any of the first four would have been a worthy winner..
Sandi Morris won a pole vault competition that lasted 3 hours with a vault of 4.95m. Katerina Stefanidi, the reigning World outdoor and Olympic champion was third, only managing 4.80. That Morris, who has been runner-up in the last three global finals, and Stefanidi could only clear 4.80 at the third attempt made the final even more absorbing.
The evening was marred by far too much intervention by the officials. The nadir was the decision to disqualify Drew Windle (USA) who finished second in the 800m for obstruction and to promote third to second and fourth to third. And then, over an hour after the race finished, to reinstate Windle and demote the two previously promoted athletes.
In the men’s 400m the winner, Oscar Husillos (Spain) and second place finisher, Luguelin Antos (The Dominican Republic) were disqualified. Spain lodged and appeal but the Dominican Republic did not. The Jury decided that the disqualifications should stand.
I cannot say that any of the officials’ decisions were right or wrong. I do not have the evidence. But there must be a better way to do it! Better, surely to hold a result if there are genuine doubts than to announce a result, change it and then change it back. There also did seem to be too many disqualifications for marginal offences which had no impact on the outcome of the race.