|Thursday, September 28, 2000
booted near finish
SYDNEY (AP-CP) -- Australian Jane Saville headed
into the Olympic Stadium tunnel with a huge lead in the 20-kilometre walk, awaiting the
roar of a jubilant home-town crowd. Instead, she left the tunnel in dismay.
Saville was disqualified in the closing seconds of
the nearly 90-minute walk Thursday, allowing China's Wang Liping to capture the gold
medal. Kjersti Plaetzer of Norway won silver and Maria Vasco of Spain took the bronze.
Saville already had been given two white warning
cards, and knew a third "lifting" infraction -- not maintaining contact with the
ground -- would warrant a red card and automatic disqualification. The woman walking with
her in the final stages of the race, Elisabetta Perrone of Italy, already had been
As she headed into the tunnel, a judge suddenly
thrust a red card toward Saville. She burst into tears. She was led away, inconsolable.
Janice McCaffrey, 40 of Calgary was also disqualified.
was as shocked as anybody," an emotional McCaffrey
told CBC. "I actually felt I was going quite slowly
and I was surprised at the judges.
20 years of race walking, I've never been disqualified at
this big a meet. The coaches are all shaking their heads,
we don't know why."
said she was in shock at watching some of the top walkers
get pulled over.
was in tears watching Jane Saville get pulled out just before
she entered the tunnel as the top Australian. I know her
heartbreak. I just wanted to finish and I'm very disappointed."
Wang won in one hour 29 minutes five seconds in the
inaugural 20-kilometre walk for women at the Olympics. The event replaced the 10-kilometre
walk that was contested at the 1992 and 1996 Games.
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