Athletics False Starts – Are there exceptions to the Main Rule?

As previously posted (see “Athletics – False Starts“), since the beginning of 2010 any false start made by an athlete in a sprint event results in his/her immediate disqualification. However, in sprint races integrated in combined events, such as the men’s Decathlon and the women’s Heptathlon, the 2010 rule does not apply.

In this type of events the false start rule in force is the one introduced in 2003 under which only a false start of one athlete is allowed. After this false start, any athlete (even one having not infringed the rules) jumping out of the blocks before 0.10 seconds have passed after the starting gun was fired will be disqualified. When sprint events are not organized with starting blocks approved by IAAF (fitted with approved false start detection apparatus, which must have an automatic recall system), false starts are visually detected by a track referee.

In High-level meetings, Continental and World Championships, as well as in the Olympic Games, the so called apparatus device is always used as it is requested, for instance, for World Records to be homologated.

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