India's Jyothi Yarraji won a silver medal in the women's 100m hurdles at the Asian Games athletics competition, but in dramatic fashion after the race officials made an attempt to disqualify her, along with Chinese competitor Wu Yanni, who made a false start.
It was the final event of the evening on Sunday night at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre and the Indian contingent was already celebrating, having won eight medals on the night in athletics. All eyes were then on Jyothi, a favourite to add a ninth medal to the tally.
But what transpired at the start line of the women's 100m hurdles final had even the sports' legends astonished. 'In my entire life as an athlete I have never seen such a thing,' said Anju Bobby George on the sidelines.
What Happened in Jyoti's Final?
With all eight athletes lined-up on the starting line, the women's 100m final saw a false start, from China's Wu Yann who was first to get off the blocks. The hooter went off and the runners started moving back into position with Wu, a medal favourite, expected to be disqualified.
However, the officials also flagged Jyothi for the false start, disqualifying from the final. Replays showed Jyothi to be the second runner to get off the blocks but she seemed to have done so when the start hooter had gone off. The Indian national record holder firmly protested and was seen viewing replays of the start with the officials and the Chinese runner.
"I don't know much about the rules but I was clear, I did not make a false start," Jyothi told the media later in the mixed zone.
After a few conversations, both Jyothi and Wu Yanni were allowed to run the final with further confusion that they were being allowed to run the race but would not receive medals if they won.
Jyothi ran the race and finished third with the timing of 12.91, behind the two Chinese runners, the one disqualified earlier finishing second ahead of the Indian.
Following protest from the Indian officials present at the venue, within minutes of the race's completion, the organisers eventually disqualified the Chinese runner Yanni Wu and upgrading Jyothi's medal to a silver.
"In my entire life as an athlete I have never seen such a thing -- officials first disqualify an athlete and then bringing her back. They tried to throw Jyothi out but she did not make any false start, her hands were touching the track when the Chinese runner was already a step and half ahead. We lodged a protest immediately," said Anju Bobby George, who is Senior president of Athletics Federation of India.