IAAF tightens false start rules

BERLIN -- The world governing body of athletics changed its false-start rule Wednesday to exclude any runner who jumps the gun beginning next year.

Currently, only the second runner to commit a false start in any race is expelled regardless of who caused the first one. Under the new rule, any offender will be immediately disqualified.

The rule was backed by the IAAF's executive council, and its president Lamine Diack said 2010 was the ideal time to introduce the change since there are no major competitions scheduled. The world championships, which starts Saturday, will still use the old rule.

"We need to change it next year because everyone will have ample time to change by the time of Daegu," Diack said, referring to the South Korean city where the next worlds will be held in 2011.

Jorge Salcedo, the head of the technical commission of the IAAF, said the current system favored cheaters who deliberately committed a first false start to put their opponents on edge.

"There are athletes who do it on purpose," he told the rule-making congress, which approved the change by a 97-55 margin with six abstentions.