The Indian athletics contingent had officially challenged the decision of the long jump judges to foul Murali Sreeshankar’s fourth attempt which he thought would have given him a gold in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Silver medallist Sreeshankar had said he initially thought he had a big valid jump in his fourth attempt but it was adjudged a foul under the new laser-based technology used in the Games.
“The Athletics Federation of India had challenged the decision (regarding the fourth jump). Sreeshakar’s father and a top AFI official went to see the video referee and other officials were there,” a source privy to the development told PTI.
“But they (AFI officials) were fully satisfied that the jump was a foul,” he added.
Sreeshankar had said he was surprised that the fourth jump was called a foul.
“I was very surprised, you can’t call it (fourth jump) a foul because I never overstepped the foul board but she (pit-side official) explained to me the exact jumping position, movement of my foot which was crossing the perpendicular plate,” Sreeshankar said in a virtual interaction.
“If it was the previous system which we had in past years, it would not have been called a foul,” said the national record holder (8.36m).
Sreeshankar and eventual gold winner Laquan Nairn of Bahamas had identical best jumps of 8.08m. Nairn was adjudged gold winner as his second best of 7.98m was better than 7.84m of Sreeshankar.
Under rules, if two jumpers are tied on same distance, the one who has a better second best effort will be ranked ahead.
The new system (which also governs triple jump) came into force on November 1, 2021 after the World Athletics Council gave its approval.
In the old manual system, a no-jump is called if an athlete is judged, while taking off, to have touched the ground beyond the take-off line. A plasticine board set at an angle of 45 degree has been long used to assist with such decisions.
“Under the new Technical Rule, it will be a failure on take-off if any part of the take-off shoe or foot breaks the vertical plane of the take-off line. It was felt that this would be more understandable and simpler to judge,” World Athletics had said in a release in September 2020.
“The old rule occasionally allowed toecaps to visibly broach the line without marking plasticine. In the future, such moments are to be fouls and the plasticine board, if used, is to be set at 90,” they added.