Jana Drama 10 - with help from T Lewis




Tamsyn’s protest ‘wins’ gold
By Jim Morton
March 25, 2006

AUSTRALIA’S drama-fused 4x400m women’s relay team emerged with a gold medal “by default” in a controversial end to the athletics program at the Commonwealth Games tonight.

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The team, containing sometime-feuding Jana Pittman and Tamsyn Lewis, finished second behind England but the result was overturned after Lewis made an official complaint of obstruction.

The result didn’t seem to please Pittman who was at first ecstatic when informed but then made a point of praising the England team, which had crossed the line first in 3min 27.17sec.

In a confusing and bewildering finish to the night, the Australia four was informed of the protest result when all four runners were speaking to the print media about their “silver medal” run.

:rolleyes: Pittman yelled: “We won gold. Yahoo!” :eek:

But, then with the England team nearby, ran over to her rivals to apologise.

“Oh my God I’m so sorry,” she said as she put her arm around England runner and friend Natasha Danvers Smith.

"As far as we’re concerned they’re the gold medallists and we got it by default.

"Ultimately they’re the champions but if we get it we’ve got to take it humbly.
“Look at it they beat us by 10m.”

But Lewis was adamant she had done the correct thing by informing the officials.

When the runners were sent out for the second change Lewis should have been second in line, according to placings at the 200m mark, but the England runner walked past her and took that spot.

“Everything happened in my leg. If we won gold its really sad because the England team ran really well but I’m not complaining,” Lewis said.

“I knew what had happened so (I) said something.”

“Relays have rules. As Jana said the England team did enough to win, but rules are rules.”

The seething England quartet privately felt it was the victim of hometown officiating.

Danvers Smith, who attempted to take her baton just after race favourite Jamaica bungled its second change, believed she had done nothing wrong.

“It’s news to me what they’re saying is, what Tamsyn is saying is, is that she was supposed to take the baton ahead of me,” she said.

"With Nicola (Sanders) running a blinding leg was she not second after Jamaica? OK enough said

“Whatever they want to say from now is up to them but as far as I’m concerned England are the Commonwealth Games 4x4 champions. That’s it.”

Pittman led off with an impressive run of 52.5sec before handing to Caitlin Willis. Lewis ran a strong third leg.

The pair shook hands and put their arms around each other as Rosemary Hayward crossed the line in second place but Lewis didn’t stay with the team during the “victory” lap.

Bitterly disappointed England head coach Brad McStrabick said his team was “absolutely gutted” but played down any complaints.

“The rules are the rules. It’s up to another country to decide if they want to apply the rules. Australia (has) done that and we’ve fallen prey to that,” he said.

“There were no real grounds of an appeal.”

Australia emerged from a night of relay fumbles and bungles and controversies with another 4x400m gold when its men’s team won easily, but then had to wait for the medal after three protests.

John Steffensen spearheaded the Olympic silver medallists to a commanding victory (3min 00.93sec) which was made easier when the Bahamas and Jamaica had baton change dramas.

The Australia men, anchored by Clinton Hill, won ahead of South Africa and Jamaica.

Steffensen, the 400m champion, led off with an impressive run of 44.71sec and passed the baton to Chris Troode with a slight lead over South Africa before Mark Ormrod and Hill finished off.

“I think my night was Wednesday. This is the boys’ night. How could I not be proud of them?,” he said.

“We really worked hard and we really wanted this.”


Hand back medals: Clarke
By Jim Wilson
March 28, 2006

AUSTRALIA athletics legend Ron Clarke has launched a stunning attack on the women’s 4x400m relay team, telling it to “give back their Commonwealth Games gold medals”.

Vote: Should the gold go to England?

Protest … Lewis and Pittman after finishing second. Pic: Brett Faulkner

Clarke, who lit the Olympic Cauldron at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1956, was part of one of the great moments in sportsmanship when John Landy picked him up after he fell in the national 1500m in the same year.

But he said the Australia quartet of Jana Pittman, Catlin Willis, Rosemary Hayward and Tamsyn Lewis did not deserve the gold medal after finishing well behind England.

England was disqualified after Australia protested its No.3 runner Natasha Danvers-Smith had stood in the wrong order during her changeover.

“I am absolutely appalled by what went on and frankly our girls should never have accepted the gold medal,” Clarke said.

“How can they accept a gold medal when they were out-raced? They should give their gold medals to England without hesitation.”

Clarke also attacked Australia team management for not instructing the team to drop the matter.

“They should have been stronger and the whole episode ruined what should have been a great night of track and field,” he said.
"It’s left a sour taste in my mouth. It made absolutely no difference to the result and England deserved the gold medal.

"I certainly wouldn’t have alerted the track referee purely because the result was beyond doubt.

"It was obviously a group decision and simply wasn’t the right call on behalf of the Australian team.

“It made me so angry and left me bewildered that the deserved champions weren’t rewarded. It put a dampener on the entire evening and everyone knows that England should never have been denied the gold medal.”

Angry supporters yesterday contacted Athletics Australia and the Herald Sun expressing their disappointment at Australia’s protest.

There have even been claims by England fans and team officials that the protest was cheating and unsportsmanlike.

But last night, Athletics Australia chief Danny Corcoran made it clear that England would have been disqualified before Australia team members Lewis and Pittman approached track officials.

“The runner made an error when lining up for the changeover and we have confirmed that this error was noted by the track referee,” Corcoran said.

“England would have been disqualified irrespective of any protest lodged by an Australian team.”

England’s Danvers-Smith was adjudged to have lined up in the wrong order before accepting the baton for the third leg.

Rules say runners must be positioned in the order of the incoming runners as they pass the 200-metre mark.

England had moved into second after the 200-metre mark had been passed, which was why Danver-Smith’s took up the position she did, unclear of the rules.

Danvers-Smith left no doubts that the disqualification was unfair.

“It wasn’t a nice note to finish the friendly Games on,” she said.

This sounds like a total crock to me. In 4 x 400s, teams jostle and switch as the runners come in all the time, otherwise they’d be crossing each other at the handoff. If, as home-boy claims, there is some sort of automatic dq without a protest, I’ve never heard of it, but, then again, whole species of animals have gone extinct since I was last on the track!

Its a bit of an ambiguous rule and to be honest Lewis doesn’t make much effort to stop the English girl from going into lane 2.

Should have just swaped positions! The Brit girl’s second at that point but is going wide.

When the runners were sent out for the second change Lewis should have been second in line, according to placings at the 200m mark, but the England runner walked past her and took that spot.

Talking to our chief track official here this is the key. It is the placings at the 200m mark that determine where the next runner stands. What happens from there is irrelevant.

IAAF rule 170.9

The athletes in the third and fourth legs of the 4x400m relay race shall, under the direction of a designated official, place themselves in their waiting position in the same order (inside to out) as the order of their respective team members as they complete 200m of their legs. Once the incoming athletes have passed this point, the waiting athletes shall maintain their order, and shall not exchange positions at the beginning of the take-over zone. If an athlete does not follow this Rule, his team shall be disqualified. Note: In the 4x200m relay race (if this event is not run entirely


then the referee should try to sort it out. This can lead to chaos as the athletes die at various rates over the last 200 from slight to total!

The disqualification took the shine off an excellent Commonwealth Games. I don’t know what Lewis was thinking about not going straight to her starting position - did you see her stop short of her mark to stretch her achilles? No wonder Danvers Smith took up Lewis’s space.

What a completely bitchy thing for Tamsyn Lewis to do! She knew that this was the only way she would ever get a gold medal. :mad:


If only Tamsyn could get to the line as quickly as she ran to the judges
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:eek: Am I the only person who felt like throwing up while watching Tamsyn Lewis justify her official protest in the women’s 4x400m relay final? She looked chuffed to bits that she had just hammered another coffin nail into the notion of sporting behaviour. As I understand it, no advantage was being gained by the England runners as a result of the lane mix-up at the baton handover and I don’t think anyone has suggested the Brits did it on purpose. What satisfaction can there possibly be for the Australian team to know they were comprehensively outrun and yet, due to their petulant whingeing, are now in the possession of gold medals? At least Jana Pittman, on reflection, has had the decency to distance herself from this rather shameful episode.

Clive Barratt, Birchgrove

I was wondering if it was true that Tamsyn Lewis’s split times for the 4x400m relay show her to be faster at running to appeal to the judges after the race than she ran on the track in actual competition?

Alistair Sandilands, Gymea Bay

:eek: There has been much complaint by the England women’s 4x400m relay team in the Commonwealth Games and the UK press that they were disqualified on a minor technicality, enabling Australia to win. Tamsyn Lewis seems to have been unfairly singled out for a protest initiated by her entire team. However, the British team did not complain when receiving a bronze medal in the same event at the 2005 world championships. During the heats, the US team won by a huge margin but was disqualified when one of its runners was judged to have incorrectly positioned herself on the inside lane while waiting to receive the baton on the third leg, which interfered with both Britain and Jamaica.

Paul Roberts, Lake Cathie

well hopefully the UK stomps the aussies at worlds and the 08 olympics. I am gonna try this whole appeal to the judges thing in 4x4 race that we lose. I can’t see the point in taking someone elses gold medal. Only thing that could of been better in this drama is if they had given the gold medals out and THEN the protest was logged.

Rules are rules, the English team broke them and were disqualified. :eek: Some are saying where were the officials to ensure they were correctly lined up? and as much as that is a valid question ultimately I believe it is the responsibilty of the competitor to know and follow the rules. I am surprised their competitors didn’t know the rules, clearly Lewis did.

Would I have let someone take an incorrect position as it appears she did? I would like to think not.