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IAAF Rules Proposal
July 24, 2007
The international federation may provide steeplers relief from the shock of landing on the sloped surface of water jump pit.

Years ago the water could be about a foot (30 centimeters) deep next to the barrier -- and the gradual slope could be dirt softened by water -- a tolerable landing surface.

World record recognition for steeplechase was accompanied by standard dimensions, notably water depth of 70 cm (27.5 inches) at the barrier end of pit, creating a more sharply angled slope for landing that could feel like "hitting the wall." Landing shock was later exacerbated by introduction of artificial surface for the track including water jump path. World-leading steeplers have been stopped by leg injuries.

Next month at Osaka the IAAF will consder proposed changes to its competition rules -- including this: The depth of water in the pit may be reduced from 70cm to up to 50cm -- an 8-inch reduction. (It is recommended that all new water pits be constructed to the shallower dept. Track owners may opt to backfill existing pits to create shallower pits.)

Editor's opinion: Good concept; but consider a bit more reduction to further reduce landing slope angle.

--Dr. James Fields

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