Brianna McNeal, Olympic 100m hurdles champion, false starts out of world champs
Olympic 100m hurdles champion Brianna McNeal flew 7,000 miles and waited until the ninth day of the world championships to compete. Her world championships were over without ever clearing a hurdle.
McNeal false started out of the first round of the 100m hurdles on Saturday. She twitched in her starting block and was given a reaction time of .036 seconds before the gun. Any reaction time within one tenth of a second after the gun or quicker is deemed a false start.
“Well of course I am very heartbroken by this mistake that I made,” McNeal said, according to USA Track and Field. “After not having the best season my only goal was to come out here and redeem myself. My focus and training was wired around this very moment but unfortunately I lost focus for just a milli second and it cost me an opportunity to be a World Champion again, but I am not defeated. This year and this very moment has taught me some valuable lessons. What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger and I am grateful for that. My faith will always prevail.”
McNeal at first disputed the red card shown to her. She looked at a monitor with officials to the side of the track and accepted her fate. After the heat went on without her, McNeal could be seen crouched on her knees just off the track, her head in her hands on the floor.
McNeal was also disqualified for a false start at a Diamond League meet in Oslo on June 13.
The rest of the favorites advanced to Sunday’s semifinals, including world-record holder Keni Harrison and Jamaican Danielle Williams, who is fastest in the world this year.
McNeal, who ranks 10th in the world this year, missed the 2017 World Championships while serving a ban for missing three drug tests in a 12-month span.
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