An Ethiopian athlete who finished first in Sunday’s Vienna City marathon was shortly disqualified after officials determined the soles of the shoes he wore to compete were a centimeter thicker than what was prescribed.
According to Reuters, Derara Hurisa edged over his competitors with a finishing time of 2:09:22. But he was disqualified 45 minutes after he crossed the finish line because his shoe soles measured five centimeters. Athletes are not supposed to compete wearing the soles of running shoes that are thicker than four centimeters.
And the shoes Hurisa wore to compete were reportedly different from what he stated while filing his form. “We also stressed in the technical meeting the rules about the shoes. Unfortunately, we had no other choice than disqualifying the athlete,” Hannes Langer, the race coordinator, said.
“It’s the first time something like this has happened. I’m pretty sure that from now on there will be some form of checks to avoid something like this to happen again in a major race.”
Kenyan athlete Leonard Langat was declared the winner following Hurisa’s disqualification. He initially crossed the finish line in the second position. “Of course I would have preferred to have broken the tape,” Langat said. “I had no clue about the disqualification until they told me. It was of course my aim to win and I thank God that in the end I did,” he said.
Besides Hurisa’s disqualification, this year’s event also came with a few setbacks as athletes complained about the rising temperatures. A 40-year-old Austrian who collapsed after participating in the half-marathon also died after he was transported to a hospital, Reuters reported.
“We are very affected by this case. Our deep sympathy goes to the relatives of the runner,” race organizer Wolfgang Konrad said. “The organizers are not aware of any further details.”