Doha: German women sprinters win limits on intimate close-ups

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New close-up camera shots of sprinters settling into their starting blocks are being restricted following a complaint by two female German athletes.

The world athletics body IAAF agreed only to show close-ups of athletes crouched, awaiting the starting pistol.

The “Block Cam” is an innovation for the world championships in Doha, Qatar.

Gina Lückenkemper and Tatjana Pinto complained they had not been consulted about the cameras installed in the blocks for their 100m races.

Their complaint was raised with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) by Germany’s athletics association, the DLV.

Lückenkemper and Pinto – both knocked out in the 100m semi-finals – called the intimate cameras “very questionable”.

“I find it very unpleasant stepping over these cameras as I get into the blocks wearing these scanty clothes,” Lückenkemper said.

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On 9 September the IAAF announced the introduction of “trailblazing technology” for the Doha World Athletics Championships, including “new cameras that will provide innovative angles on the competition”, to make it more exciting for viewers.

IAAF director of broadcast James Lord said traditional camera shots “only showed the top or side of their heads as they took their marks”, and “the new cameras within the blocks will capture that intense moment just before a race”.

Two miniature cameras were installed in each starting block for the 100m and sprint hurdles races.

Under the compromise reached late on Sunday, the big-screen close-ups will only show the athletes crouching in their blocks, moments before sprinting off.

The video data from the cameras will also be erased daily, under the agreement.

The women’s 100m final was won by Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

A prominent German sportswoman, Amélie Ebert, backed the sprinters’ complaint, pointing out: “I was a synchronised swimmer, in a tight costume, often with just my legs above water.”

“I often wondered why we athletes had no right to be consulted over which pictures would be used,” she told the German daily Rheinische Post. The shots included “close-ups of us doing the splits”, she added.

The women’s 100m final was won by Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

A prominent German sportswoman, Amélie Ebert, backed the sprinters’ complaint, pointing out: “I was a synchronised swimmer, in a tight costume, often with just my legs above water.”

“I often wondered why we athletes had no right to be consulted over which pictures would be used,” she told the German daily Rheinische Post. The shots included “close-ups of us doing the splits”, she added.

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