Aussie young gun Isaac Cooper denied gold in controversial circumstances at FINA World Championships

Home Sports Aussie young gun Isaac Cooper denied gold in controversial circumstances at FINA World Championships
Aussie young gun Isaac Cooper denied gold in controversial circumstances at FINA World Championships

Controversy reigned on night four of the FINA World Short Course Championships, when a technical error robbed Isaac Cooper of gold.

The teenager clocked the quickest time in the men’s 50m backstroke final with 22.49sec; unfortunately, it counted for nothing after a buzzer indicated the start of the race was void.

The majority of the field was unaware of this with five of the eight competitors completing the whole race before being informed.

MORE: Kyle Chalmers and Emma McKeon continue Australia’s golden run in the pool

The lack of action to inform the swimmers the race was void left Ian Thorpe unhappy.

“They’ve got to notify the athletes,” he said on Channel 9’s coverage.

“This is rubbish! They have to notify them.”

The five-time Olympic gold medallist argued there should have been a line dropped across the lanes to signify the race had to be restarted. 

“There should’ve been a drop, if this is a false start, at the 15m mark so that all athletes knew,” he said.

“This is a huge disadvantage to those that have continued. Huge.”

Dual Olympic gold medallist, Ariarne Titmus, agreed with Thorpe’s assessment when she stated how the situation was unfair on those who had completed the turn and finished the race at full intensity.

“There should’ve been a 15m rope that goes down when there is a false start,” she said.

“It stops the boys from swimming the rest of the race.

“These guys are pure sprinters, 50m swimmers. So, to ask them to get up and go again, straightaway, is not fair.

“Isaac’s been vocal about the fact that after a 50 or 100m effort, he can feel quite sick and even vomit.

“He’s technically, from my point of view, just become world champion.”

The false start was blamed on a time system malfunction which forced the race to be re-started later in the night.

“A technical error by an official occurred at the start of the Men’s 50m Backstroke Final,” World Aquatics said in a statement.

“After speaking with all the competing athletes and team officials from the competing countries, it was unanimously agreed that the competition would be re-swum at 21:10 (AEDT) tonight, 16 December 2022. World Aquatics apologises for the error.”

Ryan Murphy took out the replay of the race, winning with a time of 22.64sec, with Cooper winning the silver medal.

Although the American admitted to reporters after the race he felt uncomfortable with the victory, believing that the Aussie was the rightful winner.

“In my mind, he won that race,” Murphy said.

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