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RACE WALKING - JUDGING
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Most people are confused about the rules of race walking. The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) defines:

Race Walking is a progression of steps so taken so that the walker makes contact with the ground, so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg shall be straightened (i.e. not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the vertical upright position

In Simple terms:

There are two rules;
1. Contact Rule
You must have one foot on the ground at all times. This is the opposite of running where you are off the ground.
2. Knee Rule
You must straighten your knee when your foot first hits the ground and keep it straight until it is directly under your body, then you can bend the knee and start the stride again.

There are well trained judges around the course ensuring walkers compete within the rules.

The judges show athletes a yellow paddle (like a yellow table tennis racquet) if they caution athletes, that is, they are informing the competitor that they are very close to breaking the rules.

The yellow paddle either has a wave line (~) or a bent/right angled line (>). The wave line indicates the athlete is in danger of breaking the rules for contact and the right angled indicates they are in danger of breaking the knee rule.

So when I’m shown a yellow paddle from the judge either bent line (>) or wave line (~) I know that particular judge is looking closely at me for either knees or contact and that I should concentrate on my technique more.

If a judge believes, without a doubt, that an athlete is breaking one of the rules they will give that athlete a warning (they actually write on a red card). Three warnings and an athlete is DISQUALIFIED. Only when an athlete has three warnings will the red paddle be shown to them indicating disqualification and that they must leave the course immediately.

At all major competitions there is an electronic “DQ” scoreboard visible on the course. This scoreboard has athletes numbers on it with marks beside (sometimes they X and other times big dots) indicating how many warnings an athlete has been given. So the best thing for a walker is to never see any crosses or dots beside your number. If there are two crosses then you only need one more to get the dreaded red paddle.

Judges can only give one warning per athlete. But athletes do not know which judge they received the warning or what rule they were breaking. All the athletes see is their number on the ‘DQ’ Board with a mark against it indicating how many warnings they have.

Source: www.janesaville.com

To Jane: Thank you for letting me use this text!

 

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©Kjersti Tysse Plätzer