Fresh details about Athing Mu's appeal USATF emerge as her coach & agent open up

Fresh details about Athing Mu's appeal USATF emerge as her coach & agent open up

Abigael Wafula 13:30 - 29.06.2024

More details about Athing Mu's appeal to the USA Track and Field Federation have emerged with her coach Bob Kersee and agent Rocky Arceneaux explaining what really happened.

Reigning Olympic champion Athing Mu will not representing the US at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after she was allegedly tripped and fell during the final of the women’s 800m race at the US Olympic trials.

She crossed the finish line ninth and did not qualify for the Olympics. She appealed to USATF officials, with the argument that she was illegally clipped by another runner but they denied her petition. The former world champion appealed the decision but that was denied, too.

According to SI, there is more to the story after having an interview with her coach Bobby Kersee, and agent, Rocky Arceneaux.

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They argued that the selection criterion for the event is unforgiving since past records of an athlete don’t matter at such a crucial time. The top three in the final are the only athletes who qualify for the Olympics and that’s the final for the USATF.

“It’s time for the U.S. to change,” Arceneaux said on expressing his state of shock. He explained that in most parts of the world, the officials take the top two and the third athlete is selected at the discretion of the federation.

Kersee noted that it was in 1984 when he first observed an issue with the selection process for track Olympians and 40 years on, nothing has changed.

“In some situations, there’s not a clear picture. Of course, you have to earn your spot. In all the time I’ve been in the game, I just think our process does not allow for a fair, not political, look at specific situations,” he said.

On his part, Arceneaux noted that the world 800m silver medallist did not want an automatic Olympic slot but she showed up and was tripped.

Arceneaux and Kersee both agreed that Mu had not raced the whole season but noted that she was healthy enough to do well at the trials. They disclosed that the youngster was injured before travelling to Eugene.

Despite the challenges of having an injury and falling down, Mu took the leap of faith and finished the race. Arceneaux and Kersee disclosed that Mu didn’t run for real until one week before trials.

Before the final of the women’s 800m, Mu told her agent that she was feeling healthy and ready to compete. That was when she fell 200m into the race with the runners behind her nearly fell in the pile-up.

Mu’s team filed a protest on Monday night with the claim that the track spike marks on her leg show that she was hit by the runner behind her. USATF officials also reviewed the footage but denied the appeal on Tuesday morning with no details being released to the public.

On Wednesday, Mu’s representatives appealed the decision, but within an hour, they were denied again.

Mu’s team believes that she has the right to have the final rerun but USATF does not agree with that interpretation. Arceneaux believes the system needs to be changed to accommodate such incidences.