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Why Eagles WR was DQ’d at world championships

  • Sensors determined Devon Allen was one-thousandth of a second faster than allowable reaction time.
  • Threshold of 100 milliseconds set by World Athletics, international governing body for track and field.
  • Allen could have run under protest if “information provided by the (sensors) is obviously inaccurate.”

Controversy punctuated Day 3 of the 2022 track and field world championships.

And future Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devon Allen was at the center of it.

Allen, who has the fastest time in the world in the 110-meter hurdles this year, was disqualified from Sunday night’s final for a false start – leaping out of the blocks too quickly by only by one-thousandth of a second.

It was the tightest of calls, a difference so small that it is completely undetectable to the human eye. And it happened what could have been a dream night for Allen, who was not only running on home soil but at Hayward Field – the very town and stadium where he competed collegiately at the University of Oregon.

“That is as tough a break as I have ever seen in this sport,” NBC analyst Ato Boldon said on air.

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Here’s a quick rundown of why Allen was disqualified, the ins and outs of track’s false start rule and whether (or how) it could be changed.

Why was Devon Allen DQ’d?

Allen, who owns the third-fastest time ever in the 110 hurdles, was lined up in Lane 3 next to fellow American Grant Holloway, who ended up winning the world title.

TV replays show the two men accelerating off the line almost simultaneously, but the electronic sensors in the starting blocks determined that Allen was about three-hundredths of a second quicker – and one-thousandth of a second faster than the minimum allowable reaction time.

That limit is set at 0.1 seconds. Allen’s reaction time was 0.099 seconds.

So he didn’t actually jump the gun?

Nope. Allen started pushing off the blocks after the gun went off, but so soon afterward that it fell within the confines of the false start rule.

The threshold for the rule, of 100 milliseconds, has been set by World Athletics, the international governing body for track and field. Critics have said it’s an arbitrary number. The reasoning behind it is a belief that humans are not capable of reacting in less than a tenth of a second, so they must be anticipating the gun and leaving early.

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