Already since quite some years I notice that athletes and coaches are confronted, not only at international championships, but also at other competitions with inconsequent decisions concerning the course of combined events competitions. I have been consulted by many athletes, top coaches of combined events athletes and meeting organizers. They have asked me many times: “Would it be possible to make more use of existing data information, and to include the rules and decisions during the championships in clear and consequent rules and organization duties, so that everybody is aware of what has to be expected during the competition.
In the past I have made already more often proposals for this, but for all kind of reasons they have, so far, not been applied into official competition rules, or duties for organizers during the international competitions. Although IAAF has reported in letters towards me that they agree on most of the proposals it has not been fixed in the rule book, simple because proposals for this have to be done to IAAF through (a) national federation(s).
Now it is our intention to ask national federations to bring the proposals from so many in the combined events world to the IAAF Council, with the intention to make these proposals official. However, as IAAF changes its rules only every two years, the rules can officially be applied in 2016 at the earliest.
Before sending the final proposals to the federations it is our intention to get as much as possible support for these proposals from important persons involved in the combined events world, such as coaches, top athletes and organizers. For this reason you get this basis proposal by mail and I would appreciate to get your remarks or agreement on this. Additional proposals in this are also most welcome. I would like to receive these by mail, ultimate May, 1st. 2014. Reactions from world top athletes are also most welcome, and I would appreciate if you use your contacts with them or any other involved person for this. Also reactions from decision makers within your national federation are most welcome. Although I received already many reactions on our letters in 2010, new and additional reactions will increase the influence on the decision makers within IAAF.
It is the intention to come with a final list of proposals during the technical meeting at the Hypo-meeting in Götzis 2014, after which the proposals will be officially brought through (a) federation(s) to the IAAF Council.
Turn back Rule 260-27: wind assisted marks to situation as per 2009
For World Records in Combined Events:
The conditions shall have been complied with in each of the individual events, except that, in events where wind velocity is measured, at least one of the following conditions shall be satisfied:
a The velocity in any individual event shall not exceed plus 4 metres per second.
b The average velocity (based on the sum of the wind velocities, divided by the number of such events) shall not exceed plus 2 metres per second.
As we considered in 2010 this rule change as unfair, wrong and not necessary Combined Events experts, Konrad Lerch – AUT, Frank Zarnowski – USA and Hans van Kuijen – NED, wrote a letter to IAAF to underline the negative effects of this rule change. Based on their arguments IAAF Council decided in 2010 with immediate effect to not count this rule for qualification marks for international championships. We are now the opinion that this rule change should complete turned back to the earlier situation.
The arguments used in the letter in 2010 are mentioned again hereunder:
- The rule change has been implemented without consulting expert persons in this specific event, such as athletes, coaches, meeting organizers and statisticians.
- Wind assisted performances have increased with more than 100% in comparison with the former rule, without having the idea that there was something wrong in the existing rule. At least there was no logic explanation why the existing rule would not be valid anymore.
- It has never been proven that performances <4,0 meter really give an advantage to the total result of a decathlon and/or heptathlon. Experts are aware of the fact that windy conditions during these 2 days events often have a negative influence on the results in high jump, pole vault, discus throw, javelin throw, 400 meter and 1.500 meter (or 800 meter). Even the advantage the 200 meter in women’s heptathlon is often negatively influenced as the wind in the bend and in the straight can very a lot.
- Taken into consideration what is stated under c, a combined events meeting should be seen as a two days event and not as 10 rep. 7 individual events that are counted together by a formular. This should lead to specific rules were the consequenses of this 2 days event come to fair results. Combined Events meetings are often held in smaller, open stadiums were the wind conditions do have much more impact as in bigger stadiums. Most of these meetings are qualification meetings for the international championships.
- With the implementation of this new rule many results are retro active not legal anymore.
- The majority of the combined events athletes compete in maximum 3 meetings a year, including the world top athletes in international championships. This means that they have only limited possibilities to qualify themselves for these international championships. Consequently we fear that the number of athletes that will not complete the meetings prior the to international championships will increase, only because they can not qualify themselves for these championships in case wind conditions make the total performance illegal. It will ruin the competitions that are effected by this.
- In the USA the combined events are competitions that are very popular at Colleges. The majority (over 95%) of the combined events meetings in the USA is held in the College season, which is early spring. In many States in the USA this season is known as very blustery.
- The meetings of the IAAF Combined Events Challenge are held in a number of competitions spread all over the world. Also these meetings can be effected by the new rule. If any of these results will be effected by the new rule do they still count for the overall standings? And, if yes, what will be the consequence if an athlete applies against it that the overall standings are illegal.
Taking the remarks here above into consideration we can only come to the conclusion that this rule change has not been fully considered and that the consequenses are much higher as expected, without having any positive effect. We think this rule change should be turned back, so that we have to possibility to convince the persons involved of the negative impact of this decision and to avoid commotion under athletes and coaches for a rule change they do not understand, nor see the logic of it.
Other change, or new proposals:
- To appoint a combined events delegate at major championships.
Main duties for the combined events delegate:
- To act as advisor for all combined events related issues to the technical delegates
- Act during the competition as liaison person towards the athletes
- To notify all actions during the combined events that can influence the total competition and report these immediately to the technical delegate(s)
- Advice the technical delegate(s) in changes in time schedule
- Liaison between technical delegate(s) TIC and competition management in combined events issues
- To draw up the heats and groups in the several events
- To propose the starting heights in high jump and pole vault
- To set up heats/groups at international championships based on the best performances during the qualification period for these championships in combined events meetings (incl. < 4,0 wind performances).
- To rank the heats in the running events from the slower heats to the faster heats. The stronger athletes in every heat should be placed in the middle lanes, based upon their performances during the qualification period.
- To rank the groups in javelin throw with group 1 to start and the top of the intermediate standings, incl. the stronger javelin throwers, in group 2
- To set up the groups in javelin based on the intermediate standings after 5 events (heptathlon) respectively 8 events (decathlon) and to increase this group with the upper javelin throwers. Starting order will be in reverse order after the intermediate standings before the start of javelin throw (as in individual events after three attempts)
- To add WB, CB, and WLB performances on the starting lists of the several events with only the results in combined events competitions.
- To nominate in future a working group (not necessary a Committee) that should advice IAAF Council and Committees in Combined Events related issues.
All reactions can be sent to:
Hans van Kuijen
De Bergen 66
5706 RZ Helmond