Today’s World Cup Sprint race in Lysekil, Sweden was unfortunately cancelled due to problems with the touchless punching system. The race was part of the pre-WOC for next years World Championships in Sweden.
The video below of Norway’s Martin Vister punching the last control illustrates the problem. When watching the last control, around half of the runners had to run back like Vister when they had not got the punch correctly – losing from a few seconds to 7-8 seconds. Vister got the punch right at this control, but was disqualified due to missing punch on the 9th control.
Some runners had a missing punch but had the correct punch in the backup system, and got a valid result. Other runners did not even have a valid punch in the backup system and were disqualified. There were three controls on the course with this problem.
The touchless punching system used was SPORTIdent Air+, and according to the spokesman for the jury Helge Lang Pedersen the problem with the units was that they were programmed in “Eco” mode. The SPORTIdent Air+ punching system was approved by the IOF Council for use in all IOF events at the IOF Council meeting in Turkey April 15th this year.
Touchless punching also in the forest
It is also planned to use the punching system at the middle distance World Cup race tomorrow – and at all races in next year’s World Championships in Sweden. The touchless punching systems were originally introduced for the mixed sprint relay, because many runners need to punch in a very short time in these races. The touchless punching has since been introduced also in individual start races.
Michiels and Alexandersson fastest
The fastest runners today were Yannick Michiels and Tove Alexandersson. Very sad for the athletes – especially Michiels who ran a fantastic race and would have gotten his first World Cup victory. But Michiels has a big future – and we will see more of him in the future. Guess who is extra hungry ahead of the World Championships in Scotland now?
Even if the race was cancelled, it is interesting to see which runners are in shape as this is the last international sprint race ahead of the World Championships in Scotland. For later reference the cancelled results are included below.