Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Strike Out!

IAAF World Champs have been rocked by DQs for amongst others Usain Bolt, Dwain Chambers and Christine Ohuruogu. Bolt, the 'great saviour of athletics', fell foul of the one strike rule introduced in 2010, in the World 100 metre final. He seemed to realise immediately that he had contravened the rule, ripping off his vest and heading off the track. However was his error in fact precipitated by the 'twitch' of eventual winner and compatriot, Yohan Blake? Replays tended to suggest that Bolt might at least have had an argument about that, but he didnt wait to see those replays. Did the emotion of the moment deprive him of a protest? The rule empowers the starter to adjudicate. Any protest would have to be made immediately to the starter. Bolt chose not to do so.
The rule (162.7) which came into force on the 1st January 2010 has provoked controversy and this will now be inflamed by the loss of the biggest draw in athletics from the stellar final of the entire meeting. Will the IAAF keep its nerve and retain the rule? Will commercial forces provoke a rethink?
The rule was introduced in order to spice up and sharpen the 'product'. Previous events had been marred by repeated false starts and consequent delays. It was also suggested that gamesmanship played a part as 'slower starters' sought to put the field under pressure by causing an initial false start with the next false start causing immediate disqualification. Usain Bolt backed the original change of rule and is not suggesting any change now.

Saturday, 20 August 2011


GibbsBarrister launches new blog. An opportunity to discuss the latest sports law issues. Phil Gibbs is a barrister practising sports law in the Midlands.