- London Olympics 2012
Bolt set for London 2012 rematch with DQ nemesis
Englishman Alan Bell, who dismissed the world record holder after the Jamaican jumped the gun in the 100m final in Daegu, has defended the controversial false-start rule.
"It was probably the easiest decision I've had to make at a major event," Bell told the Independent. "It was so obvious. The hardest thing was realising who it was in lane five, but as an official you have to stay absolutely antiseptic.
"The personality is not something that you have to engage with. But I think an awful lot of credit has to go to Usain Bolt for the way he conducted himself. He realised he was at fault. He actually didn't have to formally be told. But I had to tell him and he just accepted it."
Bolt's disqualification led to calls for the controversial false start rule to be scrapped, but Bell admitted such reaction was inevitable in the commotion that followed, and revealed it was not the first time Bolt had transgressed. In the semi-finals at the 2009 World Championships, the one-strike false start rule had not been implemented and Bolt was permitted to return to the blocks, before going on to clock a world record 9.58 seconds in the final.
"I think there was undoubtedly a knee-jerk reaction because of who was involved," he says. "Would the same debate have been happening publicly had it been another athlete? Probably not. What's been forgotten in all of this discussion I think is that Usain Bolt did the same thing in Berlin in the semi-final, which I started. He just rolled out of his blocks."
Bell, who will be chief starter at both the Olympics and the Paralympics next summer, believes the new false start rule should not be scrapped.
"It has cut out gamesmanship, delaying tactics, and what I'd call the chancers - the people who gamble," he said. "Most of the false-starts we see now at major events frankly are bizarre lapses in concentration. They're not people trying to gain an advantage."