Why Thai sprint Puripol limped out of his 200m semi-final
Thai sprint ace Puripol Boonson hobbled out of the Asian Games 200 metres semi-final in Hangzhou, China in order to avoid aggravating his injury, the Thai athletics coach clarified on Monday.
On Sunday, Puripol stunned Thai athletics fans when he lazily got off the blocks, jogged a few metres and then pulled out of the semi-final race.
Puripol had qualified for the 200m semi-finals with a time of 21.26 seconds, placing third in his heats. However, he got injured during the heats, and had to virtually concede the semi-final without putting in a burst.
Puripol had won the 100 metres silver last week in a time of 10.02 seconds, behind China’s Xie Zhenye, who won the gold with a time of 9.97 seconds.
Pol Lt-Colonel Suphawanat Ariyamongkol, the head coach of Thai athletics, revealed that the new rules of the World Athletics Federation have made it difficult for athletes to withdraw from their events without a valid reason. Suphawanat said that Puripol had minor muscle stiffness and he didn't want to risk aggravating it. But because of the tough rule on withdrawals, he had to compete in the 200m semi-finals without the intention to finish the race. His withdrawal could have risked disqualification from future events, which would compromise Thailand’s medal hopes in the men's 4x100m relay, the coach said.
On Monday, Puripol’s name did not figure in the list of Thai sprinters taking part in the men's 4x100m relay qualifying round. The Thai relay team finished fourth behind China, South Korea, and Malaysia, but still managed to qualify for the final with a time of 39.57 seconds.
The final will take place on October 3 at 8.25pm (Thailand time). Teams can make changes to their team up to two hours before the competition. The Thai men's relay team includes six sprinters, four main runners and two substitutes, giving Puripol a chance to recover in time for the final.