Hurdle count blunder deprives athlete of record

MARTYN HERMAN
Last updated 12:47 21/05/2012
Jessica Ennis
Reuters
ANNOYED: British heptathlete Jessica Ennis was fuming after learning officials had mis-counted the number of hurdles in her race.

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Britain's Olympic gold medal hope in the heptathlon Jessica Ennis was denied a career best time in the 100m hurdles at the Great City Games in Manchester after organisers failed to put out the right amount of hurdles.

Ennis, the poster girl of the British track and field team, clocked 12.75 seconds into a headwind to win the race ahead of Olympic hurdles champion Dawn Harper of the United States.

However, her smile disappeared when she was told only nine hurdles, rather than 10, had been placed on the track built in Manchester's city centre and the result was therefore invalid.

"I am so annoyed. I still had a good competitive race but I've just not got the result I wanted," Ennis said.

"I can't believe that. It's a great event but that's a massive, massive mess-up."

A statement from the organisers said: "There has been a technical error and there were nine sets of hurdles out on the course instead of 10.

"We'll conduct a thorough investigation and find out what happened and why and by whom. It's a very unfortunate mistake, we're very unhappy about it."

Dwain Chambers, who was recently cleared to compete in the Olympics after the British Olympic Association's lifetime ban for convicted dopers was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was also taking part in his first race in Europe since the decision went in his favour.

Chambers received a warm welcome from the fans before finishing second in the 150 metres in 15.27 seconds.

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- Reuters

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