At its executive board meeting on Mar. 14 the JAAF introduced new competition rules for domestic races that allow doctors and referees to stop athletes from continuing regardless of the athlete's own wishes. At last October's National Corporate Women's Ekiden Championships Qualifier there were complaints of inadequate handling of athletes who were in trouble after one athlete who sustained an injury was shown crawling on her hands and knees to hand off her team's tasuki and another became delirious and disoriented and began running the wrong direction and in circles. Medical staff and race officials will now have greater latitude to speak to and even touch athletes in order to confirm their physical condition. The aim of the rule change is to remove concerns about what constitutes "aid" to athletes and to better ensure the health and safety of the competitors.
translated and edited by Brett Larner