I HAVE been an avid follower of international athletics for many years, especially at the World Athletic Championships and the Olympic Games. However, two events have always bothered me, namely the race walk 20km and 50km.
The main two rules governing the walk events are that the walker's front foot must be on the ground when the rear foot is raised and the front leg must straighten when the foot makes contact with the ground. Officials on the course are the sole judges and adjudicators as to whether this happens or not.
From what I have seen, I have always felt that to qualify as a course official it would appear that one has to have poor vision. I have to question why modern technology is not used to determine whether the walkers are cheating or not.
Last week I witnessed the vast majority, if not all of the walkers cheating in the 50km walk at the World Championships, by simply using the slow motion button on my PVR remote. When I focussed on any walker at any time, he would be cheating by having both feet off the ground.
This included the three medal winners, Robert Heffernan, Mikhail Ryzhov and Jared Tallent. The sooner the IAAF wakes up and starts using technology to monitor these races, the better.
The fact that medals are awarded to athletes who have clearly and constantly broken the rules is a joke.
I feel that the race walk events are not worthy of being called athletic events and should be consigned to the scrap heap. Are they not comparable to having a competition to see who can whisper the loudest?
D E Francis, St George's Park, Port Elizabeth