No false-start rule

Berlin - A new false start rule is a top item on the agenda of the congress of the ruling athletics body IAAF, while former star athletes will work behind the scenes to enhance their chances of presiding over the powerful body in the future. Ukrainian pole vault legend Sergey Bubka, British middle distance ace Sebastian Coe and Moroccan hurdler Nawal El Moutawakil are said to be vying for what is one of the most powerful jobs in world sport, currently occupied by Senegal’s Lamine Diack.

Delegates from the 212 IAAF member states meet on Wednesday and Thursday in Berlin ahead of the world championships which start on Saturday.

Also on the agenda is a traditional pre-worlds joint meeting of the IAAF council and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board, on Friday.

Diack, 76, has presided over the IAAF since 1999. The next presidential election is set for 2011. There is speculation that he may stay on for another year to oversee the IAAF centenary celebrations in 2012.

Diack appears to favour his senior vice-president Bubka, and Coe may find only limited time for a campaign as he will be fully occupied as organizing committee head for the 2012 London Olympics.

However, El Moutawakil can not be counted out. She would be the first woman at the top if the IAAF which would send a strong signal. The 1984 Olympic champion is an influential IOC member and head of the important IOC evaluation committee for the 2016 Games.

“She has a strong position in the IOC,” said IAAF vice-president Helmut Digel of Germany.

Diack’s successor will have a full agenda to maintain the appeal of the number one Olympic sport.

One step in that direction is a no false start rule, which similar to the swimming rule allows no false start. Currently a runner who commits a second false start is disqualified.

"I am absolutely in favour of the ‘no (false) start’ rule. I felt that the current rule gives sprinters the chance to play the system - to deliberately false start but not be punished for it. This proposal now makes things very clear and fair. [WHO SAYS THIS? DIACK? kk]

Diack also said that modernization such as more compact competition formats is necessary because "without it the sport will lose relevance and fade away.

“We must be constantly thinking of making changes, when these changes are for the better and make the sport more attractive, especially for a younger generation.”

Other issues of the congress include a change of the cross-country worlds format from an annual event to staging it every two years. The Pacific island state of Tuvalu is to be formally accepted as the 213th IAAF member.

I actually agree it is fairer. Zero or 1 false starts each, not one for the field.

IAAF Adopts No-False-Start Rule For 2010
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

IAAF adopts “no false start” rule beginning in 2010

BERLIN - The IAAF Congress on Wednesday approved a new rule that will disqualify athletes the first time they false start in any given race. The rule will take effect January 1, 2010.

The rule will replace the current false-start policy of the first false-start being charged to the entire field, with only subsequent false-starts resulting in disqualification. Implementation is set for 2010 in order to enable athletes to become accustomed to the rule well ahead of the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Speaking in support of the rule change, IAAF President Lamine Diack pointed to the NCAA’s longstanding no false start rule as evidence that such a rule is practical and enforceable. He stated his belief that “the current rule gives sprinters the chance to play the system,” he said, “to deliberately false start but not be punished for it.”

The rule change was approved by a vote of 97 to 55, with six abstentions. The IAAF Congress on Wednesday also approved defining masters as age 40 and over for long-distance running and road racing.

The IAAF Congress is being held in Berlin prior to the start of the 12th IAAF World Outdoor Championships, which begin Saturday and conclude August 23.

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