Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

No change to false start rule, insists IAAF

The false start rule will not be changed, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) insisted on Sunday, despite the furore that surrounded the disqualification of sprint star Usain Bolt from the world 100m final.

The world’s fastest man had barely left the track after his astonishing false start before a debate swirled over the controversial rule.

A packed stadium was stunned into silence in the seconds after the preening sprint star shot too early from his blocks one week ago.

The Jamaican defending world champion and world record holder was a victim of a rule in effect since January 1 2010 meaning immediate disqualification for a false start.

It was seen as a way to prevent gamesmanship from potentially slower sprinters looking to unsettle their rivals and to enable organisers to stick more closely to TV-dependent schedules.

No changes
And IAAF president Lamine Diack was in no mood for discussion on the subject at a press conference marking the end of the August 27 to September 4 world championships in Daegu, South Korea.

“You should not have any illusions, we will not go back on the issue again,” the Senegalese said.

“I am one of those who defend the idea that the rule should be kept. It’s not because it’s Bolt that we should change the rules.

“In the past any athlete could have a false start. We did not adopt the rule for television but for the credibility of our sport.

“Some athletes voluntarily did false starts and they remained in the race. We have to stop such mistakes.

“Even Bolt, he said ‘I made a false start’, he said it was his mistake. It will not change our rule. The false start rule is disqualification.”

After a week of rumours that IAAF council members would ask for the rule to be changed, Diack insisted that there had been no such demands at Sunday’s IAAF council meeting.

“Nobody asked for that,” Diack said bluntly of a possible rule amendment in time for the London Olympics next year.

Bolt’s disqualification in the 100m shook up his rivals but after a delay of a few minutes team-mate Yohan Blake held his nerve for the restart and powered to victory in 9.92 seconds.

Bolt then rebounded, albeit with slow reaction times out of the blocks, to retain his 200m title in 19.40 seconds, the fourth fastest time ever run over the distance. — AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

The South African Bone Marrow Registry celebrates 30 years of...

‘It’s not drilling into bones!’: Misconceptions keep donors away, says SABMR, but a match outside of a patient’s family is a needle in a haystack

R500-million Covid-19 Gauteng hospital contract was irregularly awarded — SIU

The bank accounts of Pro Service Consulting and Thenga Holdings have been frozen

More top stories

With its industrial base decimated, SA’s economy needs real change...

Speaking at a book launch on Tuesday, the finance minister said a focus on manufacturing is critical to stem the country’s deepening unemployment crisis

Defence team cagey about Zuma’s health after state advised he...

The former president was absent from court, but his counsel argued that health matters be left aside, so as to hear his case for the removal of Billy Downer

The South African Bone Marrow Registry celebrates 30 years of...

‘It’s not drilling into bones!’: Misconceptions keep donors away, says SABMR, but a match outside of a patient’s family is a needle in a haystack

New clean fuel standards could be the end of refineries...

In the absence of mechanisms to recoup investment into cleaner fuels, refineries may be faced with tough decisions

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…