The Drummond drama

AMERICAN Jon Drummond provided rare drama by staging a sit-in, rather a lie-in, on the track after being disqualified from the men's 100m quarterfinals for a false start. He held up a heat for more than half an hour and eventually relented after officials put on hold that particular heat and the USATF put some sense into his head.

Faced with expulsion from the rest of the World championships, Drummond withdrew and said that he would not be competing for the rest of the season, but the IAAF disqualified him all the same, making him ineligible to compete in the relay.

The Drummond drama could have been handled much more firmly than it was. Now, the IAAF is seeking ways to avoid a recurrence. Some of the suggestions that have been made pertain to warning the athletes well in advance, removing the `blocks' of disqualified runners and not showing TV replays on the giant scoreboard, in order to avoid confusion among the spectators, as it happened this time.

The crowd's sympathies lay with the American, but not many among the athletes had a word of support for Drummond. "Rules are rules'' was the general refrain.

The `one false start' rule is bound to come up for further scrutiny, but at the moment the IAAF is in no mood to relent. One general warning and then, if you make a false start, even if you are not the guy who made the first one, you are out.

Drummond insisted that he did not move. The `recall' system showed his foot had lost contact with the `block'.