Athletics still can’t get it right

I don’t know how many column inches Usain Bolt is taking up at the moment, I suspect it’s a lot…but it’s not as much as it could be due to the ineptitude of the IAAF.   The last week should’ve been about the Jamaican’s quest for the 200m world record, but focus was fixed primarily at the women’s 800m, not because of an attempt at a world record or an intense rivalry but because athletics’ governing body decided to question the gender of the favourite, Caster Semenya, on the same day she was competing in her semi final.

It says a lot about the class of the athlete that she was able to compete and go on to win her gold despite this public and deeply embarrassing ordeal hanging over her head.   No doubt she will have been in contact with her family who were being interviewed by the world’s media about the gender of their daughter/grandaughter/sister which must also have been very distressing.  To be put through all this during the largest event in the sport outside the Olympics under an intense media spotlight, by the sport’s own governing body, is frankly outrageous.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the championships, there have been some stellar performances and intriguing competitions; Jessica Ennis, Philips Idowu, obviously Usain Bolt and the mens Decathlon being my picks. The IAAF had the opportunity to positively enhance the reputation of the sport, increase popularity and ride the Bolt wave, instead they hung one of their own out to dry.

Neil Welch

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