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Here are two bizarre stories with protests and re-runs (no coin flips), and both involve the 400 meters!
One of the most unusual protests at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona was the Men’s 400 meters semi-final.
Kenyan Alphas Kishoyian was in Heat 1 of the semi-final, but he wasn’t settled in his blocks when the starter called “SET”, despite being in Lane 6. The gun fired, and Kishoyian expected a call back or false start, but that never happened.
So he came last in 48.39 and protested.
That protest was overturned, and he was allowed to do the re-run at the end of the night. Alone. Yes, that’s two races in the same day. However he had to beat 46.49 to qualify for the finals (i.e to be one of the 2 fastest losers of the 3 heats). Not an easy task.
In all fairness, he still had the Lane 6 draw, and below is a picture of the The Loneliness of a 400 meter Runner (to make analogies to Alan Sillitoe’s book, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner, a must read).
The pressure was unreal, and the spectators, who stayed until the very end, cheered him on every step of the way. There was drama in the air, and this was only a semi-final!
He did end up running 46.46, squeezing into the finals by 0.03!
Here is the amended official results. If you look at the photo-finish, you don’t see Alphas Kishoyian anywhere as he was last.
Here is the exciting video on YouTube.
UPDATE: Sorry, the video is no longer on YouTube.
On a closing note, running 2 semi-finals did take a toll on his legs, as he finished 6th in 46.19 out of Lane 1 (his PB is 45.64 set last month). The race was won by Luguelín Santos of the DR with a 44.85 performance.
To add more drama to the bizarre ending of the 400 meters, there was a TIE for 3rd place. Remember the How to Settle the Allyson Felix, Jeneba Tarmoh Tie-Breaker story?
The Women’s 4×400 relay semi-final Run-off
The U.S. women’s 4×400 relay team will also do a runoff for a qualifying time into the finals of the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships.
Team USA initially ran 3:34.12 to win heat one of the semifinals, but was disqualified as a result of being outside the exchange zone. Romania was also disqualified for being outside of the zone in the same heat. Both teams filed a protest because the track officials placed the second-leg runners in the wrong position, near the end of the exchange zone.
When the batons were passed, it was clear via video evidence that both teams had passed outside the zone, so the protest was denied. However, Team USA appealed that decision and it went to the championship’s Jury of Appeals, which was upheld! The jury took into consideration the special circumstances: young inexperienced athletes, different (inexperienced?) judges, different guidance, etc.
The re-run is scheduled for 11:00 a.m on Sunday, followed by the Finals at 7:45pm! USA has declared, but Romania rejected the offer to run.
Team USA must run a time of 3:39.44 or faster to earn the final qualifying spot in the final, and they must use the exact running order of Kendall Baisden, Robin Reynolds, Kiara Porter, and Olivia Ekponé.
No other teams will be impacted because if Team USA runs the time, it will be the 9th qualifying spot (i.e. Top 3 plus 3 fastest losers, instead of 2).