With technology advancing, watching sports becomes more exciting each year, but it's quite possible that this time, the event organizers at the world track and field championships in Qatar have gone too far!
Good and emotive sports photography is an art in itself, and technology that allows us to watch sports by capturing critical details is just as impressive nowadays. So, it may have seemed a good idea at the time to make viewers' experiences more immersive and exciting by adding an additional camera to capture athletes' facial expressions before they begin their race at the event in Doha, capital of Qatar and home of World Athletics Championships 2019.
Unfortunately, some female athletes weren't so thrilled about these new cameras. Using a so-called "Block Cam" system, which was introduced for the event in Qatar, cameras promised to "provide innovative angles on the competition.” This also meant that cameras showed images of athletes' intimate areas. According to German sprinters Tatjana Pinto and Gina Luckenkemper, athletes weren't consulted about this new equipment addition, and they both felt uncomfortable standing right over them, wearing their running uniform, which is short shorts. Luckenkemper also questioned the reasoning behind adding these new angles and doubted that "a woman was part of the development of that".
As a result of the complaints, an agreement was reached that the footage will only be displayed once the runners are already on the starting blocks, and equally, the footage captured by the cameras will be deleted every day. The International Association of Athletics Federations director of broadcast James Lord explained that traditional camera shots didn't show enough of diverse and intense moments, by only showing "the top or side of their heads as they took their marks,” hence why the new cameras inside the blocks were installed to capture emotional moments just before a race starts.
Lead image by Usman Dawood.