Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bullies On The Start Line!

Q: Start a 7yr.old against Usain Bolt in the 100m, and who'd win?
A: The one who didn't make a false start.
The Jamaican sprinter was disqualified from the World Champs 100m final last year after he false-started. But now young kids have been sent crying from a track event in Tauranga, thanks to Running Nazis enforcing Olympic Games rules on 7-year-olds!
At last weekend's Colgate Games, automatic disqualification for false starts reduced young competitors to tears and spurred boos from outraged spectators.
Some of NZ's top athletics coaches say these rules are just too harsh for kids. National track and field coach Chris Palone says the rule, to stop runners making deliberate false starts to gain a psychological edge, came in after the 2009 athletics world champs. Palone (who's coached gold medallist triathlete Hamish Carter) feels "it's inappropriate at this level... common sense should prevail and we can come up with an alternative bylaw."
Brent Ward (coach of Olympian sprinter Chris Donaldson) said young children find it tough to hold themselves in position at the start line. "At that age, they're often not strong enough ... so you're asking kids to do what some of the most skilled athletes in the world find difficult to do. It's an easy way to put them off the sport, rather than encourage them."
But Tauranga Ramblers coach Malcolm Taylor sides with the Running Nazis: "They've gotta be trained to listen to the gun. I'm sympathetic to them, but I think we were trying to be fair at Colgate and the rules had to be adhered to."
The Colgate Games is run by the NZ Children's Athletics Association (NZCAA), which says the rules were created by the Int.Assn of Athletics Federations. So...what? Are they saying "Don't blame us - it was them??!!"
These are children. They no doubt put their hearts and souls into training, and anticipated attending the event so much. Why couldn't NZCAA allow one false start? How hard could that be?
It's vital to encourage sport participation at an early age, not shatter their confidence and eagerness into tears. This is not far short of blatant bullying!

1 comment:

Liz Clark said...

I had to read the post twice. That has to be the most ridiculous decision I have ever come across. They are KIDS as in they think as kids not as adults.

To the rule makers I say VILLAGE IDIOTS use your brains. Want the kids to enjoy the sport - then get rid of the stupid idea this is the Olympic Games instead of what it really was meant to be an event (I presume) for children. Brickbats sent to the Rule Makers. Bouquets for the nay sayers.