By Leslie Young, Global News
It’s been an up-and-down day for Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee: just missing out on a medal, winning bronze, then having it taken away again all in a matter of hours.
He competed in the 50-kilometre race walk on Friday, and finished fourth with a time of 3:41:38 – just 14 seconds behind Hirooki Arai of Japan.
Then it looked like he had bronze, when Arai was disqualified from the event.
At issue was a bump from Arai. With only about two kilometres left in the race, Dunfee made a move to overtake Arai. He managed to do it, pulling ahead briefly, but Arai made a move of his own – bumping the Canadian as he went by.
That bump threw Dunfee off his stride and he wasn’t able to recover. Despite making another effort, he couldn’t pull back into third place.
Shortly after the race, Athletics Canada announced on Twitter that it was filing a protest about the bump. An hour or so later, it announced that it had won the appeal.
Arai was disqualified for the hit. But, the Japanese team filed their own appeal and won: giving the bronze medal back to Arai and putting Dunfee back into fourth place.
Athletics Canada released a brief statement on Twitter after the medal was stripped from Dunfee.
— Athletics Canada (@AthleticsCanada) August 19, 2016
“Immediately after the race, upon urging from our on-site staff, the Technical Delegate reviewed video, judged there was an infraction and awarded Evan Dunfee bronze and disqualified the Japanese athlete.
“The Japanese federation filed a protest, the Jury of Appeals reviewed the situation and overturned the disqualification, thus placing Evan back into 4th place, with the bronze going to Arai of Japan.”
Bump or no bump, Dunfee’s time set a new Canadian record. The effort cost him something though – he had to be taken off the course in a wheelchair following the race.
Matej Toth of Slovakia won gold with a time of 3:40:58 and Australia’s Jared Tallent won silver.