The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has agreed to restrict the use of its new “block cam” technology following complaints from female athletes over it capturing intimate areas.
German sprinter Gina Lückenkemper said in an interview over the weekend that she thought the cameras were “unpleasant” and “there was certainly no woman involved in the development” of the equipment.
“I have never seen these blocks before. I do not think this camera is so cool as it shoots upwards,” she said in a further statement emailed to Euronews from her spokesman.
She added: “There was certainly no woman involved in the development because you have to climb over it while wearing tight clothes.”
Lückenkemper went on to say that the German Athletics Association (DLV) had complained to the IAAF “because of the camera filming the crotch”.
“We are not the only ones who protested.”
The cameras, which were introduced during the World Championships in Qatar as “trailblazing technology to give sports fans a fresh view of the IAAF”, consist of two miniature devices installed into the starting blocks.
Shooting at an upwards angle, they are designed to show the athlete’s face in the seconds leading up to the starting pistol, and the “explosion of energy” as the race begins.
But athletes and audiences alike have noted that such an angle could also be deemed a “bit creepy”.
Not sure about the new “Starting Block Camera” they are using at the World Athletics Championships… ?
— Ian Docherty (@doco88) September 27, 2019
In a statement, the DLV said it had elevated the complaints from Lückenkemper and her fellow sprinter Tatjana Pinto, and that the IAAF had, in response, agreed to black out the “block cam” images on the main screen.
On secondary screens, the size of the image has been altered “so that nothing is recognisable”.
“The video data is not saved and deleted daily,” the DLV added.