Morning Session Recap: Paul Chelimo Is DQ’d In 3,000, As Is World Leader Bralon Taplin (& His Entire Heat!) In the 400

March 2, 2018

BIRMINGHAM, England — The morning session on day 2 of the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships was a wild one. By the time the dust settled, four men had been disqualified from the 3,000 meters — including medal favorite Paul Chelimo of the U.S. — and six men had been DQ’d from the men’s 400, including all of heat 3, which included reigning silver medalist Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar and world leader Bralon Taplin of Grenada. We recap the carnage below.

We have writte an editorial on all of the DQs Here: LRC Ridiculous DQ After Ridiculous DQ At The 2018 IAAF World Champs: The IAAF Rule Book Needs To Be Modernized & The Visa Issue Is A Disgrace.

Men’s 3000: Paul Chelimo is one of four men disqualified as Shadrack Kipchirchir makes final on time

Usually there’s not a ton of drama in distance prelims, but if you are an American fan, the two heats of this morning’s men’s 3000 meters were a veritable rollercoaster of emotion. The drama began in heat 1 as American Shadrack Kipchirchir was bumped around entering the turn with 700 meters to go, losing his momentum and stumbling out to lane three as shown here:

At the time, Kipchirchir was one of eight men in the lead pack (with four men advancing automatically and four on time), and though he reattached himself to the back of the pack, he could not get going again and was dropped badly once race leader Yomif Kejelcha began stringing the race out with three laps to go.

Reigning champ Kejelcha won the heat with countryman and multi-time global medalist Hagos Gebrhiwet right behind him in second. Kipchirchir finished eighth in 7:57.08, and though technically still alive for the final time qualifier, he would need a miracle to advance to the final.

And Kipchirchir did receive that miracle, though it came at the expense of his training partner Paul Chelimo. As Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega and Kenya’s Davis Kiplangat pointlessly raced for the heat win up front, Chelimo looked set to cruise through to the final after crossing the finish line in third place. But after the race (and after we talked to him in the mixed zone), we learned that Chelimo had been disqualified under IAAF Rule 163.3(b), which reads:

In all races (or any part of races) not run in lanes, an athlete running on a bend, on the outer half of the track as per Rule 163.5(b), or on any curved part of the diversion from the track for the steeplechase water jump, shall not step or run on or inside the kerb or line marking the applicable border (the inside of the track, the outer half of the track, or any curved part of the diversion from the track for the steeplechase water jump).

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And indeed, Chelimo did take a step inside the curb, as shown here:

Chelimo was not the only man in his heat to be disqualified as Jamaica’s Kemoy Campbell and Djibouti’s Youssouf Hiss Bachir were also DQ’d under the same rule, while Germany’s Richard Ringer was DQ’d under Rule 163.2 (obstruction).

I do not know what was going on and why I was disqualified,” Chelimo said after the race. “I was careful and watched the steps. There was no intention to do it.”

With all of those DQs, Italy’s Yassin Bouih and New Zealand’s Julian Oakley moved up to take the final two auto spots in heat 2. And since Kipchirchir ran faster than the fifth placer in heat 2 (Argentina’s Federico Bruno in 7:58.98), his 7:57.08 held up to give him the final time qualifier to the final.

Heat 1

1 213 Yomif KEJELCHA ETHETH 7:42.83 Q
2 212 Hagos GEBRHIWET ETHETH 7:43.55 Q
3 203 Adel MECHAAL ESPESP 7:43.83 Q
4 136 Birhanu BALEW BRNBRN 7:44.03 Q PB
5 294 Bethwell BIRGEN KENKEN 7:45.06 q
6 309 Younéss ESSALHI MARMAR 7:45.07 q PB
7 246 Clemens BLEISTEIN GERGER 7:49.01 q PB
8 422 Shadrack KIPCHIRCHIR USAUSA 7:57.08 q
9 119 Thierry NDIKUMWENAYO BDIBDI 8:09.11
10 327 Hamish CARSON NZLNZL 8:14.40
185 Djamal Abdi DIREH DJIDJI DNS

Heat 2

1 211 Selemon BAREGA ETHETH 7:48.14 Q
2 296 Davis KIPLANGAT KENKEN 7:48.26 Q
3 274 Yassin BOUIH ITAITA 7:50.65 Q PB
4 328 Julian OAKLEY NZLNZL 7:55.92 Q
5 104 Federico BRUNO ARGARG 7:58.98 SB
6 225 Jonathan DAVIES GBRGBR 8:21.73

Quick Take #1: The IAAF rulebook needs to be updated

After the spate of DQs in the 3000 and this morning’s 400 (where an entire heat was DQ’d — see below), there needs to be room for common sense in the rulebook. Please read this: LRC Ridiculous DQ After Ridiculous DQ At The 2018 IAAF World Champs: The IAAF Rule Book Needs To Be Modernized & The Visa Issue Is A Disgrace.

QT #2: Why did Barega and Kiplangat race like high schoolers for the heat win? Because they basically are high schoolers.

If you watched heat 2, you saw two men — Kenya’s Selemon Barega and Kenya’s Davis Kiplangat — needlessly battle for the heat win. Both men were clear of the field, and with four men advancing automatically, there was no need to win the race. It reminded us of something we would see in a high school race.

And then we remembered that Barega and Kiplangat are, officially, basically the age of high schoolers. Barega’s birthdate is listed as January 20, 2000, which makes him 18 (he’d be a senior in HS in the U.S. Kiplangat’s birthdate is listed as July 10, 1998, which makes him 19 (he’d be a sophomore in college in the U.S.)

Still, both guys should know better — they both ran at World Outdoors last year.

QT #3: Shadrack Kipchirchir said that he could not recover from being bumped with 700m to go

Kipchirchir lost all of his momentum with 3.5 laps to go and after that point, he slowed dramatically. Interestingly after the race, Kipchirchir said that the contact impacted him more mentally than physically.

“[Being bumped out] screwed me mentally,” Kipchirchir said. “I tried to come back, but the guys, they were already picking up the pace.”

That being said, it’s possible the contact Kipchirchir more physically than he realized as sometimes athletes strain a groin, hamstring, etc without realizing it. Regardless, he’ll get a reprieve in Sunday’s final, but the manner of his advancement — with Chelimo being disqualified — is not how he wanted to do it.

“I’m not happy this. Paul being disqualified and I got in,” Kipchirchir told USATF. “That’s not what all I wanted. I don’t like that way. I’m not happy about it.”

QT #4: Paul Chelimo was feeling confident before learning of his DQ

Chelimo looked good in his race and was one of the medal favorites — if not the favorite — heading into Sunday’s final before he was DQ’d. Though Chelimo lost in Glasgow, he said that he thought he was the favorite as he was caught by a lean at the end of that race, and he desperately wanted the chance to earn his first global gold. That said, he knew it was going to be a tough final.

“It’s gonna be tough finals, going against three full set of Ethiopians. It should be a tough race, but I’m prepared and ready for it.”

Unfortunately, Chelimo stepped inside the rail on the turn and was DQ’d. Those dreams of gold will have to wait until Doha 2019.

“It’s devastating, but well, if the guy just decided that I get DQ’d, it’s fine,” Chelimo told USATF. “You know it’s a track, it’s an indoor track and it’s banked and we’re running 15 laps. What do you expect? It’s not going to be 100%. Someone is going to lose a step. And it happened today it was me who lost a step. Whatever I was doing wasn’t intentional. You know, I wasn’t doing anything intentional. I stepped inside the rail by mistake…It’s just sad, to say the least. I qualified the right way, I was top four. That’s all I work for. I didn’t get any advantage by stepping inside the rail. But the rules are rules and I cannot bend the rules.”

We didn’t get the chance to ask Chelimo about the DQ as we talked to him before it was announced.

Kemoy Campbell has signed with Reebok, which may be starting a new training group

A couple of high-profile stars in Jamaican hurdler Omar McLeod and Kenyan 800m runner Emmanuel Korir couldn’t make it to Birmingham due to visa issues. Boston-based Kemoy Campbell had some visa issues of his own as he missed a couple of days of training before the meet as he had to travel to Jamaica to get his visa.

In fact, if you’re looking for an embodiment of this meet, it’s Campbell, as the other emerging storyline in Birmingham is DQs, and after successfully receiving his visa, Campbell was DQ’d from this morning’s 3k for the same reason as Chelimo.

Campbell also recently signed with Reebok, which means he’s parting ways with New Balance coach Mark Coogan. Campbell said he didn’t know who his new coach would be and that it was up to Reebok to decide. He was also asked whether he’d have any new training partners.

“I’ve heard rumors that they’re (Reebok) trying to start a group,” Campbell said.

We had heard these same rumors, but Campbell clearly knows more than he’s letting on.

“Technically I’m not supposed to say anything, but yeah, we’ll see,” Campbell said.

We didn’t ask Campbell about the DQ as we talked to him before we learned about it.

Men’s 400: An entire heat is disqualified

If everyone in a heat is disqualified, did it really happen?

That is the question after the first round of the men’s 400 this morning as all five athletes in heat 3 were DQ’d. The casualties included some big names — world leader Bralon Taplin of Grenada and 2016 World Indoor silver medalist Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar.

Haroun didn’t even get to run the race as he was disqualified for a false start. But Taplin and the other three remaining athletes did run the race, only to later learn that they had all been disqualified under the same rule: IAAF Rule 163.3(a), which reads:

In all races run in lanes, each athlete shall keep within his allocated lane from start to finish. This shall also apply to any portion of a race run in lanes.”

The 400 is run with a two-turn stagger at World Indoors, with athletes running the first two turns in lanes before cutting in at the start of the home straight on the first lap. So the officials ruled that every single athlete in the race cut in early.

The mass disqualification created two extra time qualifiers, which allowed the Dominican Republic’s Juander Santos and Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Litvin to advance. Americans Aldrich Bailey, Jr. and Michael Cherry both advanced. Slovenia’s Luka Janezic led all qualifiers at 46.45.

Grenada lodged an appeal on Taplin’s part but it was denied by the Jury of Appeals.

Below you can see a screenshot showing DQ next to everyone’s name in heat 3. Full results here.

If you are wondering, this isn’t the first time in history that everyone in a heat has been DQd.

Quick Take: This is a travesty

The IAAF rule book needs to be modernized. In virtually every instance, the only option for an infraction is a DQ. That’s way too harsh. If you haven’t read our other article, do so now: Ridiculous DQ After Ridiculous DQ At The 2018 IAAF World Champs: The IAAF Rule Book Needs To Be Modernized & The Visa Issue Is A Disgrace.

But in case you still haven’t read it, here is a CliffsNotes version of it. Messageboard poster “reformer” had some fantastic ideas on how the rule book should be modernized that he or she shared yesterday. Among his ideas were two that would have worked nicely today – time penalties and false starts.

1) Time penalties: If someone steps on the line, you don’t just DQ them. You should give them a time penalty of some sort. So if you still won the heat by a lot like Taplin did, you’d be fine.

2) Move people back for false starts: For false starts, there wouldn’t be a DQ on the first false start. Instead, they are just moved back (he or she suggested moving them back 1 meter for a 100, 4 meters for a 400) and allowed to race. That way if a big star like Usain Bolt false starts due to jitters, he is still good enough to move on. We know the false start rule was put in to save time but it will still save time as most runners can’t afford to run an extra 1%. And it would add drama and potentially save a huge star.

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