Colin Griffin suffered huge disappointment at the World Championships in Daegu on Saturday morning when he was among twelve athletes to suffer disqualification in the 50K race.
The disqualification occurred at 30K when he was going particularly well and on target for a personal best time of close to 3:50.00 which would be well inside the standard for the Olympic Games in London next year.
A disqualification list of twelve out of 43 starters, of whom six others also failed to complete the course, is almost unprecedented at this level and indicative of an unduly severe interpretation of the Rules by the six or seven officials charged with this responsibility on the day. In the Mens’ 20K on the previous Sunday there were four disqualifications out of forty six and this would be about normal of the event.
When the Women took to the 20K course on Wednesday where Ireland’s Olive Loughnane finished 16th in by far the most extreme conditions which were experienced in the three walking races with 88% humidity, six athletes were disqualified and a large number had one or two cards in what appeared to be a more tough judging regime that had prevailed for the men. This appeared to have been taken further for the 50K.
It was a pity that such a fine opportunity of publicising the sport of racewalking was affected in this way. With both the womens’ 20K and the mens’ 50K events held on mornings when there was no action in the stadium both events were televised from start to finish and shown live and in full with informative commentaries in this part of the world by Channel 4 and Eurosport.
Despite the lateness of the event- the 50K ran from midnight until after 4.00 am- quite a number of people in both Great Britain and Ireland and not all racewalking fans stayed up to watch and many tweeted comments to the Channel 4 commentators during the long event.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.