May 18, 2024

EM drama about runners. Enrico Gunter was disqualified in Istanbul after a false starting point.

Enrico Güntert was eliminated from the competition after several false starts over 60 metres.


Swiss runner Enrico Gunther has become a tragic figure at the European Athletics Championships in Istanbul and must bury his hopes 60 meters early after several alleged false starts.

In the climax of the sprinters’ preliminary race over 60m as Mujinga Kambunje edged past the women’s gold on Friday, Enrico Gunther is said to have started too early and was therefore temporarily excluded from the competition. However, the 25-year-old’s false start could not be seen with the naked eye.

As Günther did not want to accept the decision either, the Swiss Assembly filed a protest for disqualification and succeeded. The guy from Schaffhausen is allowed to run alone again in order to continue qualifying for the semi-finals over time.

Shaky starting block?

This is where the drama runs its course. Alone on the track, Gunther was accused of a false start on the second attempt as well. It looks wrong again, as it becomes clear after a few minutes. Because soon after, the pathetic runner gets a third chance.

But Gunter also made a false start on the third attempt. At least that’s what the technology says. Only: this time he was red-carded for it, the disqualification remains in effect – and SRF commentators speak of a “travesty”. There is a suspicion of a technical foul, the shaky starting block may have caused the false start.

Gunther: “I never had a false start”

But the officials stick to their decision. “It’s my first time on such a big stage. So having to try something like this right away is not nice. But I have to accept it and work on it,” says the frustrated runner in the SRF interview.

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He has no explanation for what happened. “I’ve never had a false start in my career,” says Gunther. He may have quivered with his foot, and thus caused the pressure difference, which technology deemed a false start. “The simplest explanation would be the tension, but I felt it under control. I must have watched it again. We also have these machines in Switzerland – and it never happened there.”