The Chinese national athlete, Wu Yanni penned a note of apology to her Indian rival, Jyothi Yarraji over the false start drama that had taken place during the women’s 100m hurdles race at the Asian Games, held in Hangzhou, China.
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“I am very sorry that my result was disqualified due to a false start, disappointing everyone’s expectations. I deeply apologize to all my friends who have supported me and to the competitors in tonight’s race,” Wu wrote on her official account on Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-like social media platform.
“I respect the referee’s final decision, respect the rules and the competition, and congratulate my teammates and opponents who finished the race.” The drama unfolded in the last event of the day at the ‘Big Lotus’ stadium when the women’s 100m hurdles was stopped after the gun was fired. Replays clearly showed that Chinese runner Wu Yanni was responsible for the false start as she got off the blocks even before the gunshot was taken.
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The judges reviewed the start of the race at the on-field screen and then disqualified Yanni. But to the surprise of the Indian camp, Yarraji was also told that she would be out due to a false start. This sparked massive outrage among the Indian management as well as the viewers, especially in India. Many criticised the officials for attempting to penalise Yarraji due to the false start which was begun by Yanni herself as per replays.
Yarraji stood her ground for a while and protested and the race was held up for a few minutes.
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In sprint races, under the 100 millisecond rule, any athlete who reacts within 100 milliseconds (0.100 seconds) of the gun going off is considered to have falsely started. Later, the judges allowed both of them to compete and Yanni finished second behind her Chinese compatriot Lin Yuwei (12.74) while Yarraji (13.04) was third.
India’s Jyothi Yarraji finished in the third position in the race but was eventually upgraded to silver after Yanni was disqualified.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)