Athletics – False Starts

Before 2003, an athlete would only be disqualified from a sprint event (those having a distance not superior to 400 metres) if he/she had been sanctioned for two false starts.

After 2003 IAAF’s rules changed allowing only for a false start of one athlete. 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 was then disqualified.

Since the beginning of 2010 any false start made by an athlete would cause him to be immediately disqualified. One of the most striking example of this rule applied in practice was Usain Bolt’s disqualification in Daegu 2011 World Championships 100 metres race. Nonetheless, in some sprint events the 2010 rule does not apply.

What sprint events are those? Follow our athletics section to find out the answer. We will keep issuing new articles on false start rules, as well as on anti-doping regulation and other technical events aspects and rules (e.g. throws, jumps and hurdle races).

1 thought on “Athletics – False Starts

  1. Pingback: Athletics False Starts – Are there exceptions to the Main Rule? | World Sports Intelligence


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