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Lane and Heat Draw Have Little Effect on Placings and Progression in Olympic and IAAF World Championship 800 m Running

Hanley, B., Casado, A. and Renfree, Andrew (2019) Lane and Heat Draw Have Little Effect on Placings and Progression in Olympic and IAAF World Championship 800 m Running. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. ISSN Online: 2624-9367

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to establish whether the lane and heat draw influenced placings and progression in world-class 800-m track running. Finishing positions and times of 1086 performances at the Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships between 1999 and 2017 were obtained. Mean finishing and season’s best times (SB), as well as placings and progression rates, were found for each heat number and for the inner (Lanes 1 and 2), middle (Lanes 3 – 6) and outer lanes (Lanes 7 and 8). In the qualifying heats and semi-finals, the theoretically expected number of fastest losers (non-automatic qualifiers) per heat was compared with the actual number. One-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc tests were conducted to compare finishing times between lane and heat numbers across rounds. With regard to the order of heats, there were no differences between finishing times in either the qualifying heats or semi-final rounds for men; in the women’s event, only Semi-final 3 was the quickest, but still did not have higher progression rates. SB times did not differ between heats within each round, highlighting the fair distribution of athletes. Progression rates for each lane during the qualifying heats ranged between 36% and 52% (men) and between 49% and 61% (women), close to the expected ranges of 45% and 55%, respectively. The middle lanes were quicker in the seeded semi-finals and finals only. Men in the outer lanes fared slightly worse and should focus on achieving the optimal tactical position after breaking from lanes. The IAAF could reconsider how they allocate seeded lanes in the later rounds by switching the fifth and sixth fastest athletes from the outer to the inner lanes. Regarding the heat draw, athletes mostly did not take advantage of knowing previous performances from earlier races, and probably focused on achieving an automatic qualifying position instead. However, the fastest losers in the women’s last semi-final were faster and showed that benefitting from the heat draw is possible with tactical coaching.

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© 2019 Hanley, Casado and Renfree. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Uncontrolled Keywords: coaching, elite-standard athletes, Endurance, race tactics, Track and Field
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: Divisions (2019 and before) > Academic Departments > Institute of Sport and Exercise Science
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Copyright Info: Open Access journal
Depositing User: Andrew Renfree
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 11:30
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2019 13:15
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/8528

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