If you are a Track and Field Fan, you probably didn’t miss the ASA National Championships this weekend. We can continue to talk about the amazing performances, sub-10’s, return of Van Niekerk and the amount of all round new talent crowned as SA’s best. This all contributes to a very positive report, but is it being over shadowed by the incident in the final 30m on a very tight fight to the podium between CGA’s Maxime Chaumeton and ACNW’s Luan Munnik in the Mens 1500m Final.

Social Media was in outrage to the incident which to the naked eye looks like an intentional trip and bad sportsmanship. We took the time to analyze the final 30m of this race to give you a non-bias point of view. Every distance runner knows you do not sneak in on the inside of lane 1, to pass an athlete. The inside sneak, seems to have been an error in judgement of an inexperienced Maxime Chaumeton, who in our opinion would have, if on the outside, probably outsprinted Luan and medaled. However the young runner found himself in a boxed in position in the final stretch with no other hope of passing Munnik, unless Munnik shifted towards the 2nd lane, instead of towards inside. Munnik was well in right to defend the inside barrier as he is in front and positioned on the inside from before the last 100m.

The question still beckons, did Maxime intentionally trip Munnik? If you have a look at the final 30m, you will note as Maxime surges on the inside, Munnik slightly shifted to close the lane. A tactic well and just. This caused Maxime to step on the white barricade of the inside lane, loose his foot , step out of bounds and in a desperate attempt to remain inbound shift back into the first lane tightly behind Munnik. Then all madness broke out. The two runners collided, leaving Munnik half a meter short of the line and Maxime diving over him to cross the line.

The end result did see Munnik being rewarded a joint Bronze Medal with no finishing time and Maxime DQ’d.

In our opinion, ASA’s results was the right outcome, even though not fair to Munnik who might have snatched a silver, but given the circumstance this was brilliantly handled by ASA officials. In the case of Maxime Chaumeton, we believe he deserves the DQ due to his lack of judgement in a moment of desperation, but not the tag of a cheat or bad sportsmanship as social media has portrayed this. We see this happen allot on the backstraight, and very seldom in the final 100m. If you would like to ponder about intent, have a look at the last 20m of the Womans 800m final. You will see an intentional lane shift towards the outside, to block out the surging runner between 1st and second.

Hopefully both runners recover well, and we look forward to the next race where they go head to head.

AUTH: ERWIN M SCHMIDT JR.