Games officials defend controversial photo finish

Fans have blown up over the decision to award Yohan Blake the bronze medal in the 100m final, but officials have explained why they're wrong.

Jamaican star Blake was the red-hot favourite heading into the first Commonwealth Games 100m event without the retired Usain Bolt.

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However he was upstaged by South Africa's Akani Simbine, who shocked the world to claim gold.

A stumbling Blake hung on to claim bronze in a photo finish after registering a time of 10.19 - the same as fourth-placed Seye Ogunlewe from Nigeria.

Blake (L) and Ogunlewe (R). Image: Getty

As you can see above, Ogunlewe and Blake both crossed the line at almost exactly the same time, but Blake was awarded bronze based on his reaction time out of the blocks - 0.139 compared to Ogunlewe’s 0.143.

However fans were left unconvinced, with the official photo finish leaving many confused.




The uproar prompted officials to offer a response.

"It’s great everyone is so excited about such a close finish," the Gold Coast 2018 Twitter accounted posted.

"The IAAF rules state it is the torso that needs to cross the line, and specifically not the head, neck or limbs."

As you can see above, even though Ogunlewe's legs and head appear to cross the line first, it is Blake's torso that actually gets the job done, and that's all that matters.

Simbine took a surprise victory in 10.03sec, leading a South African one-two as Henricho Bruintjies took silver in 10.17.

The official photo. Image: Channel 7

It was the biggest title yet and a major scalp for Simbine, 24, who finished fifth and a place behind Blake in the 2016 Rio Olympics 100m final.

"It's my first international title and for me it's a milestone, a stepping stone towards the world championships, and the Olympics and more competitions and more international competitions," said Simbine.

"I wasn't focused on him (Blake). I literally just focused on myself and making sure I get out fast and get to the 50m as quick as I can."

Blake, 28, the joint second-fastest man of all time after fellow Jamaican Bolt, who retired last summer, had jokingly been told by his former team-mate not to return home if he failed to win gold.

"I'm not worried," said Blake of Bolt's likely disappointment, in what was the first major championship since the sprint legend called time on his career.

"I know what I can do and I just don't know what happened, it was just a bad race for me."

Blake, who was fastest into the final and had been hot favourite in Bolt's absence, said that he was "stumbling all the way, I just didn't recover from it. It was an easy race for me to win because I've been feeling good.

"I've been running good and I just didn't put the start together so I was all over the place."

with agencies