What can seemingly be described as arrogance among athletes by not adhering to rules and regulations when participating in road races can not only lead to their disqualification but also compromise on their safety along the road.
Limpopo Athletics (Lima) Secretary and local referee Leon Bannau indicated through his experience that athletes are allegedly not informed about the rules and regulations as set aside by World Athletics (WA) formerly known as International Association for Athletics Federations (IAAF).
“Athletes do not read through the summary of most important rules as published on any entry form of any particular race,” Bannau said and highlighted the following from Athletics South Africa (ASA): “For the following the ASA rules and regulations shall be applicable:
The mass participation section of major events on the ASA national fixtures list including events with IAAF/AIMS labels and Permit competitions; events on provincial calendars including club events, club leagues, provincial invitational events involving only ASA athletes.
The ASA athlete licensing system will apply at all athletics competitions held in South Africa as per ASA national or provincial fixtures list.
Any athletics competitions not listed on ASA National and Provincial Fixtures Lists may be declared ineligible. Any licensed athlete participating in such competition may be declared ineligible.
All competitions held under the auspices of ASA must comply with the provisions of the Safety at Sport and Recreational Events Act, 2 of 2010 and its Regulations and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 and its Regulations.”
Speaking about his biggest challenges during a race Bannau indicated that it varies from athletes not wearing their license or race numbers, athletes who do not listen to the announcements prior to the race, athletes not presenting the category they are competing in on their chest and back and the usage of earphones.
The use of earphones, especially among social runners cause a big problem during races. Bannau indicated that athletes get angry with him when they are informed at the finish line that they are being disqualified because of earphones.
“They normally indicate to me that they are practising with earphones so why not run in a competition with it. ASA rules and regulations are clear on the matter that earphones are not allowed,” Bannau said.
Earphones can not only lead to an athlete being disqualified but compromise on his or her safety as they cannot hear a vehicle approaching or directions from marshals.
Another challenge highlighted by Bannau is that some races hosted are not approved by Lima which means that the event is illegal and organisers and athletes participating in the race can face disciplinary action.
In general athletes face other safety issues, especially when practising. “Besides earphones which unable an athlete to hear oncoming traffic or people approaching more care should be taken when jogging socially. Especially woman should not run alone as they become easy targets for thugs by getting attacked, robbed, assaulted and even raped,” Bannau said.
He added that athletes should always run facing oncoming traffic to be able to monitor traffic and constantly being aware of traffic flow.
Story: RC Myburgh