Over the last few years, we have seen attempts being made to “improve” the stature of race walking by the IAAF and other governing bodies with new rules being enforced like the “Pit Lane” rule for junior & youth walkers along with the soon to be introduced “Shoe Monitoring Software(Still to be cofirmed)“.
Both these rules, and in my opinion, will stifel the likelihood of fast and fair times at our walks. Before anyone goes and says “but I’ve seen loads of pictures of race walkers running and lifting” … the rules at its base state and taken from the IAAF’s Race Walking Guide:
“Actual Rule has 2 parts both equally important:
Basically race walkers must maintain contact with the ground at all times (Referred to as the “Contact” part of the rule) and the walkers knee must straighten (“Knee” part of the rule) when the foot hits the ground and stay straightened until the leg passes under the body.
ONLY JUDGED BY NAKED EYE.
VIDEO Replays or slow motion are not used to judge.”
A Rich Athletic History
Race walking first appeared at the Olympics in 1904 with a half-mile race that was part of the 10-event ‘All-Around Championship’, an early forerunner of the decathlon. Individual races, initially over shorter distances than are common today were introduced at the Intercalated Games of 1906 and, apart from the 1928 Amsterdam Games, have been a fixture at Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships ever since.
So in essence, this sport has been an Olympic sport for ell over 100 years.
The Leak Regarding the Future of 50km Race Walk at the Olympic games
It has recently come to light that the IOC has proposed changes to the athletics programme, starting in 2018. These changes include the abolishment of the men’s 50km race walk at the Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships and the 20km race walk moving to a half-marathon distance (21.1km). It is our understanding that the IAAF Council are to vote on these changes at the upcoming Council Meeting in London, 12-13 April 2017.
Many calls have been made to Thomas Bach and the IOC Executive Committee, Sebastian Coe and the IAAF Council, to be transparent with the decision making.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SAVE THIS EVENT AND SPORT
Some of the sports greatest athletes have already mad their voices heard. This ranges from current Olympians, like Alex Wright of Ireland, Inaki Gomez of Canada, Marc Mundell of South Africa name a few. My suggestion to any elite race walker reading this, is to get support from your top athletes in other disciplines to get behind this.
Make your voice heard and save athletics by helping race walking keep the 50km event alive! Please sign the petition below, which has been started by Chris Erickson. This petition will be delivered to the IOC and IAAF alike.