New competition rules take effect in Budapest
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Track and field fans will notice a few changes when the 19th World Athletics Championships gets underway in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday.
The most noticeable change will be that athletes who do not show up for the semi-finals and finals of track events will be replaced.
Earlier this year, World Athletics, the sport’s global governing body, made a raft of rule changes in an effort to make the sport even more attractive and pleasing to fans and athletes alike.
In addition to the athletes replacement policy, an athlete who qualifies on time or performance will get the chance to wait in a specially designated area until all the finalists are confirmed; throwers will be allowed to use their own personal implements in competition; while there have been tweaks to the rules allowing athletes to run under protest in the event of disqualifications for false starts and lane allocations for finals.
Last year when Jamaican gold medal favourite Hansle Parchment was unable to line up for the start of the 110m hurdles finals at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, after a freak accident at the start, his lane was left open.
Under the new rules, the next available athlete, the runner who had placed ninth overall in the semi-finals would fill in as a substitute runner.
“In Budapest, any lanes or starting position left empty due to the withdrawal of an athlete will, where possible, be filled by the next-best ranked athlete. This policy will apply to finals and semi-finals in all disciplines, including field events and relays. There will be no re-draw of lanes or reordering of attempts,” stated a release from World Athletics earlier this year, .
“A virtual ‘hot seat’ system will be implemented, where the next-best ranked athlete(s) or teams will be on notice to wait for possible withdrawals. A maximum of two athletes will be considered for each replacement,” the release added.
Athletes who failed to get an automatic qualifying spot to the semis or finals would normally wait at a convenient place until the qualifiers are confirmed but now World Athletics have created “the Q room” where athletes in all sprints, hurdles and 800m events, for “non-automatic qualifiers can wait to see if they have advanced.”
Starters will have some discretion in allowing athletes to “run under protest”, the new rules have also outlined.
“Athletes have previously been allowed to run under protest if a start referee had doubts over the validity of a false start charge, but not if the false start was indicated by a World Athletics certified start information system,” stated the release.
“When the reaction time is close to the allowed limit (0.100), any movement may hardly be visible. Now in cases such as these, if the start referee feels the start in question requires further study, the referee may allow the athlete to run under protest.
“For any run under protest, a final decision is taken by the referee and in turn subject to an appeal to the jury. Athletes will not be able to run under protest if the false start has been detected by a fully operational start information system or in cases where the false start is clearly visible,” it added.
Previously, throwers were not been able to use their own throwing implements if the same models are on the list of those provided by the organisers. That restriction has now been lifted, and the limit of two implements per athlete remains.