A pair of British triathlon athletes were disqualified from the World Triathlon Olympic qualifying event in Tokyo after they crossed the finish line holding hands in a photo finish.
Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown were deemed to have broken an obscure rule. An appeal of the ruling was rejected, BBC reported Thursday.
Learmonth was leading the field after the swimming portion of the competition but fell behind after the biking part. The two regained steam during the running part of the event and finished side by side.
But that was considered a violation of the International Triathlon Union rule, which states “athletes who finish in a contrived tie situation, where no effort to separate their finish times has been made, will be disqualified.”
The determination meant that Bermuda’s Flora Duffy was given first place, Italy’s Alice Betto was given second and Britain’s Vicky Holland was given third.
Holland lamented the ruling.
“I really feel for Jess and Georgia because they raced exceptionally well and I feel like they absolutely smashed it and deserved the first and second finish,” she told The Guardian. “I don’t know how British Triathlon will choose things now. I wouldn’t want to be a selector.”
All three British athletes will have to wait until May to find out whether they make the Olympic team.