By Ossian Shine
DAEGU, South Korea (Reuters) - Athletics chief Lamine Diack maintained the hardest of lines on Saturday, telling Reuters there would be no changing or bending of the rules to prevent big names being disqualified.
"No chance," the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) president said in an interview at the Daegu world championships.
The start of the championships was marred by the disqualification of two of the sport's biggest names on technicalities, depriving fans and broadcasters of the chance to see the greatest names in the biggest races.
The world's fastest man Usain Bolt was scratched from the 100 meters final for making a false start under the IAAF's one-false-start-and-you're-out rule.
A day later, Cuba's Dayron Robles was dramatically stripped of his 110 meters hurdles gold medal for bumping China's Liu Xiang along the track.
The rules are the rules, Diack stressed, and they are good ones. He said that the biggest eye-opener of the championships so far had been Bolt's disqualification but that he had seen nothing to persuade him any rules needed changing.
"I think it was Bolt disqualified by false start, I did not expect this," he chuckled, when asked what had surprised him most about these Games.
"(But) I work for this rule. I like very much this rule, I vote for having this rule.
"(In the past) all athletes have the possibility to have one (false start), so you can have eight," he said, warming to his theme in a suite of the south-east Korean city's Inter-Burgo hotel.
"Think about television... it was disturbing to have everybody able to make a false start.
"After that we said 'one'. And we see that some are making it voluntarily and still stay in the competition. So now we say we do not want one voluntarily disturbing the competition.
"So I am happy with the rule," he added, stressing there was "no chance" of changing it.
"He (Bolt) understands that because he made a false start and immediately he takes off his T-shirt and says 'ok I go out'."
The 78-year-old Senegalese was equally dismissive of any suggestions of leniency for burly world record holder and Olympic champion Robles in the traditionally physical 110 meters hurdles.
"I am in favor (of the disqualification).
"If he obstructs Liu he has to be disqualified. But not to ask the others to re-run. I don't know why you ask the others of the eight to run because Mr Robles obstruct Mr Liu.
"He has to be out... it is the rule."
(Editing by John O'Brien)