The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) described the disqualification of an entire heat of 400m runners at the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham as “unprecedented” after all five starters in heat three of the discipline were sanctioned.
Among the unfortunate five was current world leader and gold medal favourite Bralon Taplin, who was disqualified for entering the free lane before the permitted point. Before the race started world indoor silver medalist Abdalelah Haroun was penalized for a false start and when the runners did get off the remaining three - Steven Gayle, Alonzo Russell, Austris Karpinskis were also disqualified for stepping out of their lanes.
Here's a new one: EVERYONE in heat 3 of the 400 at World Indoors just got disqualified.— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) 2 March 2018
Casualties include world leader Bralon Taplin and reigning silver medalist Abdalelah Haroun.
Haroun DQ'd for false start, the other four for lane infringements. pic.twitter.com/IsoOJWXbj2
The IAAF confirmed through BBC athletics statistician Mark Butler that it was the first time in the history of athletics that an entire field of athletes in a single race has been disqualified.
It remains to be seen if any of the athletes will appeal against the decision in a bid to be reinstated.