The sporting world was dismayed Sunday by the disqualification of hurdler Devon Allen from a World Athletics Championships final for starting timely after the gun was fired.
Allen, an Olympic athlete who was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as a good receiver earlier this year, seemed to start normally alongside his competitors within the men’s 110m hurdle final in Eugene, Oregon, on Sunday.
But as they approached the primary hurdle, officials fired the gun to call them back.
According to the timing technology, Allen had started 0.099 seconds after the gun.
Under current international rules for track and field sprints, an athlete is disqualified for false starting if they begin within 0.1 seconds after the gun has fired. This meant Allen had false started by one thousandth of a second.
Allen argued he should be allowed to compete, consistent with Fox Sports. However, he was ultimately disqualified and escorted from the track. it had been his last athletics competition before starting his NFL career.
Many fans and commentators were outraged with the choice and involved the rule to be changed.
“Another time to question if one tenth of a second should be deemed the cut-off for false start DQs,” NBC Sports’ Nick Zaccardi tweeted. “Especially when .108 and .109 were legal reaction times from [competitors] Shane Brathwaite and Trey Cunningham. That’s really on the brink of .100. How can one be so sure that no-one can react to a gun faster than .100?”
Cunningham, an American, ultimately took second place within the race. Grant Holloway, also from the U.S., came in first.
Performance coach and author Steve Magness called the 0.1 standard a “BS rule” and “completely arbitrary” with no science behind it.
“When i used to be flagged i used to be very surprised,” Allen told reporters afterward. “Which, you know, was also a part of the frustration because i do know for a incontrovertible fact that I didn’t react until I heard the gun. And to be 1/1000 too quick … it kinda sucks.”
He later congratulated his fellow U.S. athletes for taking the highest two spots.
“Great job to my boys,” he tweeted, tagging Holloway and Cunningham. “1,2 within the hurdles! US back on top!”