Franno defends Champs starters

April 06, 2017
Alfred Francis, managing director of Running Events.

Alfred 'Franno' Francis, start coordinator at last week's Boys and Girls' Champs, has defended the system of discretionary warning, or automatic disqualification, which caused controversy at the event last Friday.

Edwin Allen girls' Class Two star, Kevona Davis, false-started in the 100m final last Friday and was thrown out of the event without receiving a discretionary warning from the starter.

However, Cornwall College's Washington Brown false-started approximately 15 minutes later in the boys' class one 100m final, yet was given a warning by the starter instead of being automatically disqualified.

This prompted Edwin Allen's head coach, Michael Dyke, to say in a STAR Sports interview that there should be a level playing field and starters should be consistent.

However, Francis said the starters were very professional in the way in which they carried out their duties and use of discretion was good.




"Our starters were fair and they are impartial, and they do their best to guarantee each athlete a fair start," said Francis.

"He is not out there to be prejudice against anybody, regardless of his affiliation, and so if he has his emotions, he better keep it," he pointed out, dismissing any notion of favouritism.

Francis added that the starters provide a very delicate job and are always going to be under the microscope.

"I will never tell people to stop criticising us because scrutiny is always good and it keeps us on our A game, and so people are free to criticise, but then people need to inform themselves of the rules of the starts and what is involved, read the IAAF rules, and the technical aspects of it," Francis said.

"We are governed by technology also and people need to know that we have a machine down there that outputs the data relative to every start. It tells you which lane false starts and the movement of everybody," he pointed out.

Francis said the starters are highly trained and qualified, therefore they are able to work anywhere in the region.

"We have three area starters and these are starters that can work anywhere in the area, meaning North America, Central America and in the Caribbean, and so they are of that standard," he said.

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