Two Disqualifications Roil World Athletics Championships

Aug 29, 2011

The World Athletics Championships have been roiled by controversy. Two days in a row elite runners have been disqualified and medals have been awarded by default.

Today, Cuban hurdler Dayron Robles was stripped of his gold medal in the 110 meter hurdles after he seemingly reached for China's Liu Xiang with his right hand. Robles was disqualified after China launched a complaint. The gold went to the United States' Jason Richardson who finished 13.16 seconds.

Cuba launched a counter-protest, which was dismissed and the video seems to show that officials made the right decision. Here's the video, but you have watch Robles (wearing a white and black suit with glasses) carefully. The race starts at 3:10 and the replay of the disqualification starts at 6:05:

Reuters reports:

"Robles hit me twice, at the ninth hurdle he pulled at me, but it wasn't intentional," former Olympic champion Liu told reporters. "If not for the incident I would be gold medallist.

"I am good friends with Robles. What I like is a happy camp — I don't know what to say."

Richardson said: "The reaction is bittersweet. I am disappointed to have won on a technicality. I wish that under different circumstances he could keep the medal but rules are rules.

"Anything can happen in track and field if you just do your best and stay in your lane."

Yesterday, Jamaica's Usain Bolt was disqualified after a false start. The television commentators said it was "one of the biggest shocks of all time." Usain was defending his world and Olympic championship. The gold went to his Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake.

The Guardian, today, explored whether it was Blake who made Usain take off before the gun went off. The Guardian says slow motion replays of the race show Blake's "left leg twitched" and instant before Usain took off. That twitch, reports The Guardian, could have been reason for disqualification. Here's video of that race:

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