After running one of the best races of his life, Alex Genest thought the 10 minutes he would have to wait to see if his time would be good enough to advance to the final would be the most stressful part of his day. But, after seeing his time would be good enough to advance, his emotional roller coast was just beginning. Genest placed fifth overall in his 3000 metre steeplechase section, the second of three, at the World Championships in Moscow, Russia with a time of 8 minutes 24.56, he was a scant .51 seconds off securing an automatic birth into the final. With the top six fastest non-automatic times making the final, Genest was ranked fifth going into the final heat, his time however would hold up; only one athlete in the third and final heat would run faster. At this point, ten years after qualifying for his first national team, Genest was poised to make his first major championships final; then the chaos started.
Five athletes were disqualified amongst the three sections including two others (in addition to himself) in Genest’s section for alleged lane violations. Since the steeplechase is not run in lanes, a lane violation is an extremely rare occurrence, and can primarily be caused from stepping on the inside while heading into the water pit. Genest was cooling down at this point and was blissfully unaware of his disqualification. Meanwhile, Athletics Canada officials worked feverishly to determine the cause of the disqualification confusion; roughly one hour after the race was finished a formal protest was launched. Athletics Canada officials put together a proposal that clearly was compelling, as nearly three hours after the initial ruling Genest was reinstated and will be given the opportunity to run in Thursday’s final. Genest’s Canadian teammate Matt Hughes also advanced to the final, marking the first time since 1991 that Canada will have two athletes in the final of the steeplechase at the World Championships. Chris Winter finished eighth overall in his section in a time of 8 minutes 29.36, the result placed him 23rd overall.
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