13 Aug 2009

Sprinters can't afford one false start now

6:47 pm on 13 August 2009

Track athletes will be immediately disqualified for committing a false start under a rule change to be introduced in January next year.

Currently, competitors are allowed one false start "against the field", but the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) approved the change after concerns that some runners were deliberately false starting.

Many top athletes have opposed the rule change, but the IAAF overwhelmingly voted in favour of the new system.

The immediate disqualification rule was introduced in swimming 10 years ago and has worked well to discourage the practice.

The rule change will not apply to the decathlon and heptathlon, where one false start will still be permitted.