What Is the Major ‘Lane Infringement’ Rule Change Made in Running Events by World Athletics?

Published 11/02/2021, 3:45 PM EDT
DOHA, QATAR – OCTOBER 05: Noah Lyles of the United States celebrates as he crosses the line to win gold in the Men’s 4×100 Metres Relay final during day nine of 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 at Khalifa International Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)


After years of deliberation, the World Athletics finally decided to update the rulebook in terms of lane infringements. Since it came up on the World Athletics Technical Committee’s agenda in 2018, instances of lane infringements often cropped up.

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In fact, the World Athletics Indoor Championships held in Birmingham earlier this year saw a stunning 21 disqualifications owing to lane infringements. Hence, the governing body took measures to ease lane infringements, which look to be a step in the right direction.

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World Athletics eases lane infringement rules

In order to aid sprinters from facing harsh punishments due to lane infringements, World Athletics updated a few key aspects of the rule. For sprinters competing in laned races like sprints, each sprinter can only touch the line or the kerb a maximum of one time during all rounds of an event without facing disqualification.

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 04: First-placed Canada’s Andre De Grasse celebrates after winning the men’s 200m final during day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo Ben Stansall – Pool/Getty Images)

Should they step on the line or kerb once more, they will face disqualification from the race. The second infringement will lead to a disqualification, whether it takes place in the same round or a subsequent round.

As for non-laned races like the steeplechase, the restriction only applies to the inner lane. However, in such races, athletes can either step over the line or over the kerb a maximum of one time. This is unlike laned races, where athletes can only touch the line or kerb.

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When and where are the next World Athletics Championships being held?

The next World Championships will take place in Oregon, USA from July 15-24. While the season is now over, some of the finest athletes on the planet today look likely to make the high-profile event in order to achieve higher levels of greatness.

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 03: Erriyon Knighton of Team United States reacts after competing in the Men’s 200m Semi Final on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Expect stars like Erriyon Knighton, Fred Kerley, Andre De Grasse and more to grace the track next year as they advance their preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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Sanket Nair

876 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 & US Sports Author at EssentiallySports. He began following F1 since 2010, which made him an instant Sebastian Vettel fan. His favorite tracks on the calendar include Spa-Francorchamps, Monaco and Monza.

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