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Disqualification – the cruel fate of race walkers who get it wrong


Jonathan Hobbs

In my second article for On Track Athletics and Off Track and Running, I wrote about disqualification – the fate that race walkers dread.



In my previous article about race walking, I briefly talked about the threat of disqualification. It is one of the main things that makes the event so exciting and dramatic to watch. It can happen for different reasons but the effect is catastrophic for an athlete and their supporters. But after a while, it will happen to almost every experienced race walker.


In any walking race, there are official judges positioned along the course to ensure that athletes are complying with the definition of race walking – namely that at least one foot is in contact with the ground and that the leg is straight when it is on the ground and in front of the body. (This is Rule 230, which I mentioned last time.) Here is a brief explanation:


1. A judge believes the athlete is breaking the rules and issues a caution by showing a yellow paddle.

2. The judge thinks the athlete is still breaking the rules so they issue a card (known as a warning).

3. The number of cards for each athlete is displayed on the ‘naughty board’.

4. Three judges each give cards for the athlete so the athlete is disqualified. The chief judge displays a red paddle…



Read the full article here.