Sat | Jul 20, 2019

Tanya Lee | Donkey seh di world nuh level

Published:Friday | June 28, 2019 | 12:21 AM
Danielle Williams (fourth left) refuses to leave the track after an alleged false start in the women’s 100m hurdles final at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on Sunday. File
Jamaica’s Danielle Williams celebrates with the gold medal won in the women’s 100m hurdles final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, on Saturday, August 29, 2015.
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“Donkey seh di world nuh level”. Well, maybe it was my mother who often said that, but somehow, I find this to be true looking at the circumstances surrounding the false-start fiasco that marred the final day of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures National Senior Athletics Championships (National Trials) on Sunday last.

From the stands, I was personally befuddled by the disqualification of current world number-two ranked Danielle Williams from the 100m hurdles event. Based on the replay from the National Stadium screen, I could not ascertain that her hands had left the ground, or her feet the blocks, to create an advantage, but based on the subsequent feedback from the JAAA, it is the starter’s equipment that confirmed a reaction.

The starter’s equipment, a quite sensitive apparatus, can trigger a false start reading merely by the application of too much pressure. When consideration is given to the fact that there was a confirmed noise from the stands that had a similar sound to the starter’s gun, and that the race was eventually aborted after a second false-start fiasco, the current stance of the JAAA in upholding the disqualification against Williams is quite difficult for me to accept. Some discretion can certainly be applied, given the immense talent of Williams, and her previous misfortunes. In my view, if the event was declared void and aborted, I‘m not sure why her disqualification should still stand!

While it is my understanding that based on recent meetings of the IAAF, associations are encouraged not to resort to discretionary rulings, the circumstances in this case are overwhelmingly understandable and thus some discretion should be applied.

Undeniable pedigree

At the moment, Williams is ranked second in the world in the 100m hurdles, and did a season’s best 12.66 seconds in Doha, Qatar, on May 3. Incidentally, Doha is the home of this year’s IAAF World Championship. She is also the 2015 Champion. Her pedigree is undeniable. While Janeek Brown has been faster this year and has the national record of 12.40, Williams had a blistering personal best of 12.48 seconds in 2018 and is as good a prospect as any for a medal in Doha.

But sadly, misfortune has knocked on her door before. The favourite at the 2016 National Trials, Williams fell before reaching the finish line and was denied a place on the Olympic team.

But Donkey seh di world nuh level. In 2008, Bolt seemingly false-started and was allowed to run. He became Olympic champion. In 2011, Veronica Campbell Brown seemingly false-started and was reinstated. She went on to win gold in Daegu, South Korea. In 2018, both Yohan Blake and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce seemingly false-started. It was not a championship year, with nothing at stake, and they were allowed to run. Donkey seh di world nuh level. What say you?