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World’s fastest man takes his time

Aug 29, 2011 3:50:08 PM - www.ft.lk

(Reuters): For the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt sure took his time in responding to the controversial disqualification which stripped athletics of its biggest name from its blue riband event.
It took the Jamaican around 18 hours to make any statement after falling on Sunday night to the one-false-start-and-you're-out rule in the world championships 100 metres final.
And when he did respond publically, he said very little.

But what was there to say about a perhaps overly harsh rule which is sure to cause plenty of soul-searching among the sport's highest echelons?

Bolt congratulated the new world champion, his understudy Yohan Blake, but there was no getting away from the fact that Blake's crowning was very much an anti-climax.
“Firstly I would like to congratulate my team mate Yohan Blake and the other athletes who won the medals,” a statement released by Bolt's management team read.
“Of course I am extremely disappointed not to have had the chance to defend my title due to the false start. I was feeling great through the rounds and was ready to run fast in the final. I worked very hard to get ready for this championships and things were looking good.
“However I have to move on now as there is no point to dwell on the past.
“I have a few days to refocus and get ready for the 200m (heats) on Friday. After this I have the 4x100m and a few other races before the end of the season. I know that I am now in good shape and will focus on running well in the 200m.”
Under the rule introduced last year, athletes who false start are immediately disqualified.
Prior to the new rule, one false start was allowed, with a second meaning the disqualification of the offender.
The no-second-chances rule was introduced by the world's governing body in an attempt to speed up the sport for television and make it more attractive to spectators.
Instead on Sunday night broadcasters got a show missing its star turn.
Although perhaps unsurprisingly winner Blake said he had no problem with the rule, other world class sprinters wanted it trashed.
“That false start (rule) is killing us,” silver medallist Walter Dix told reporters. “Hopefully it will change by London (2012 Olympics).”
Bronze medallist Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis, also wanted it overturned or at least modified.
“At least give the field one false start,” Collins said.
“That was the previous rule. The first false start went against the field with the offending party tossed out after the next.”
The International Association of Athletics Federations has said it is continuing to study the new rule but has no immediate plans to alter it, although that could change after a 100 metres final without Bolt.
In addition to Bolt, Britain's Olympic 400 metres champion Christine Ohuruogu and sprinter Dwain Chambers have already have felt the full force of the rule in these championships.
Both were eliminated from the competition for leaving the starting blocks early.

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