BAA appeal relay decision

Hard done: The 4x100m relay team was denied a place at the Olympics due to faulty equipment PIC: BAA
Hard done: The 4x100m relay team was denied a place at the Olympics due to faulty equipment PIC: BAA

Botswana has appealed to the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) after the men’s 4x100m relay team was excluded from the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The relay team clocked 38.19secs during the heats at the recent African Senior Championships held in Duoala, Cameroon. However, the results were not recognised due to the use of faulty timing equipment. The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) vice president, Oabona Theetso told MmegiSport that they are disappointed with what led to the team failing to make it to the Olympics. He said they wrote to CAA seeking an explanation but they only got a "shallow response". “CAA has failed us. How could they use hand-timing on sprints knowing very well that the time will not be validated? Sadly, the scoreboard was there and operational. We incurred costs to send this team in pursuit to qualify but someone decided to fail us,” he lashed out. According to information reaching MmegiSport, the electronic timers at the event used an unlicensed starting pistol which meant the results were not recognised by World Athletics.

The team had set a new national record, after stopping the clock at 38.19 during Heat 2 of the competition. According to a letter written by CAA technical delegate, Suren Ayadassen, they have received an appeal by Botswana against the manual timing of the 4x100m men’s Heat 2. “After the result of the Heat 2 of the 4x100m men published and following in-depth research, simulation and enquiry, both on-site by the CAA technical delegate and remotely by the World Athletics competition department, of the available videos, it became evident that the timing returned was inaccurate and decision was taken to keep that on hold pending investigation and was given the status of uncleared by World Athletics,” the letter reads. Ayadassen said the inaccurate electronic results affected position one (38.19), position two (38.41) and position three (39.09). He said trying to retrieve the photo finish by the service provider was unsuccessful due to a camera setup malfunction. “However, the official manual timing by the backup timekeepers for the event returned a performance of 38.07 for team Botswana, which was coherent with the video evidence available and the timing simulation carried out by both World Athletics and CAA. The official manual timing of Heat 2 were as follows; position one (38.07), position two (39.00) and position three (39.04),” the letter reads.

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