ALOR SETAR: An extra-sensitive electronic starter’s system caused a schedule backlog on the opening day of the 56th National Schools Sports Council (MSSM) Track and Field Championships at the Darulaman Stadium.
The false start signal was triggered by the brand-new electronic system one too many times during the 100m heats for all the six categories contested on Saturday.
Almost all the sprint races conducted in the afternoon session triggered the false start siren. Every time the false start alarm was triggered, a runner was disqualified from the race.
The situation got so bad that during one of the boys’ Under-18 100m races, three consecutive false starts in a six-runner field saw only three athletes completing their century sprints.
However, common sense prevailed when the organisers and the athletics officials agreed to nullify the afternoon results and scheduled the affected events to be run again in the night session.
The changes caused the 100m finals, which were to be held last night, to be rescheduled to Sunday morning.
Thankfully, the bug in the electronic starter’s system was fixed and everything seemed to be back to normal when the 100m heats were rerun on Saturday night.
With the 100m heats being rerun and also due to a slight rain delay, most of the other finals scheduled for Saturday night finished late.
Only the boys’ Open hammer throw event could be completed on time, with Sarawak holding on to the gold medal for the 11th straight championship.
The 2012 MSSM champion Jackson Wong, who missed last year’s event in Kuantan, regained his crown with a 57.63m throw.
Wong Siew Hung made it a double celebration for Sarawak by taking the silver with a 54.78m effort while Lim Chen Chuen gave the home crowd something to cheer about with a 53.27m attempt for the bronze.
“It feels good to come back and win the hammer gold again in the MSSM,” said the 18-year-old Jackson.
“What was more important is for Sarawak to hold on to the hammer gold. We have been keeping the gold medal since 2004 and we intend to hold on to it for the foreseeable future.”
The record for the event is 65.44m set by current top national hammer thrower Jacky Wong, who is no relation of Jackson, in 2010.