When one can be right and still be wrong, considering the rash of DQs today in Birmingham, by Stuart Weir


I had to check it five times to truly understand it.

Taplin_BralonQ-WorInd16.jpgBralon Taplin, photo by PhotoRun.net

And entire heat of the 400 meters was disqualified and then, after an appeal, they were all still DQed.

In the 3000 meters, Paul Chelimo and Richard Ringer were disqualfied, both for running out of their lanes.

Stuart Weir examines both and we have come to an interesting conclusion. How can one be completely right and completey wrong at the same time.

I understand that we need to innovate the sport, and I am not doctor, but I always thought we wanted people to come and watch our stars compete, not be disqualified.

The jury is off.

A new IAAF record was set in the 3rd heat of the men's 400 metres. All five athletes in the race were disqualified. This is apparently the first example of every athlete in a race being DQed. I have previously written about disqualifications in race-walking and how 13% of race walkers were disqualified in London 2017. See


The comical heat started with a false-start by Abdellalah Haroun (Qatar). Not a marginal one, the athlete was several metres out of his blocks. Then there were four. Haroun said, "I don't know quite what happened but it is okay (to be disqualified). I will have more chances". Well, talk about taking a positive out of a negative!

So Bralon Taplin won the race, beating Steven Gayle (Jamaica), Austris Karpinskis (Austria) and Alonzo Russell (Bahamas). The event gives journalists flash quotes, what athletes say immediately after the race. Taplin commented: "That was easy. It is kind of early but I am happy I made it through and I have qualified. I just need to win. Two years ago I lost (fourth place at 2016 World Indoor Championships). I am looking for redemption. I have trained really hard for this. I don't want that feeling of finishing fourth again. It is cold everywhere - inside, outside, everywhere."

Wonderfully, the comments were headed: "Bralon Taplin (GRN) - 1st place. [Before his disqualification]. My mind is racing, how the interview could have gone: "OK Bralon, I know you have been disqualified but apart from that how was the race?" Shades of "Apart from that Mrs Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?"

Dissecting his comments further, his desire not to be fourth again, seems a bit ironic in the light of subsequent developments. And well, great to know what he thought of the weather!

The official ruling was that Gayle, Karpinskis, Russell and Taplin had all run out of lane and were disqualified under rule Rule 163.3a (Lane infringement). A protest was presented by the Grenada team on behalf of Taplin, against his disqualification for running on the line in the curve. The Grenada team claimed the athlete was already on a straight line and therefore didn't create an advantage.

The Jury of Appeal reviewed the video of the incident and observed that the athlete stepped on the line in the curved part of the track. His appeal was duly rejected.

Nery Brenes (Costa Rica) was disqualified in heat 5 of the same men's 400m. His team appealed, claiming he was stepping on the line. But according to the official report: "The Jury of Appeal reviewed the video of the incident and observed that the athlete stepped on the line in the curved part of the track". Rule 163.3a strikes again.

And in the men's 3000m, Richard Ringer of Germany was disqualified this time under 163.2b, protested and had his appeal rejected with the following ruling: "The Jury reviewed the video of the incident and in their opinion the German athlete attempted to accelerate and pass the Djibouti athlete on the inside where there was insufficient space. The German athlete consequently pushed the Djibouti athlete in a manner which makes him subject to disqualification according to rule".

Another runner in the men's 3000m, Paul Chelimo (USA), one of the medal favorites, was another athlete disqualified. He commented afterwards: "I do not know what was going on and why I was disqualified. I was careful and watched the steps. There was no intention to do it".

Rules are necessary and I am sure the officials followed them diligently but I am left wondering if the sport is well served by the disqualification of an athlete who inadvertently puts a foot a millimeter over the line and gains no advantage from it?

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