The Athletics Science theme focuses on applications of science in athletics and related training activities. Currently, the ‘Feasibility Analysis of Sprint Start Technologies” (FASST) Project is the key research being conducted under this theme. The FASST project revisits the technology used to detect false starts in athletics which is currently based on starting block sensor technology. These sensor technologies have been used to detect false starts in athletics competitions since 1985, however research has demonstrated that the detection methods and determination of the 100 ms minimum response time are based on limited evidence. There is a clear need to provide a mapping of the sprint start response sequence, to develop new technologies to detect the athletes’ first response and provide new algorithms to automatically determine the first response with precision and high reliability. The FASST project seeks to develop new technologies based on the determination of hand force response times for the optimal determination of sprint start responses in competition and improve the objectivity and fairness in the event. To date, the research programme has generated two patents for the technology and a new event detection algorithm.


  • To provide technology that supports athletics officials in their endeavours to make the sprint start fair to all athletes.
  • To maximise objectivity in judgements of disqualification.
  • To provide the strongest possible scientific support for the application of World athletics competition rules.

Theme Lead – Prof Drew Harrison


SHPRC members and other researchers aligned to Athletics Science

Evan Crotty, Lecturer, PESS Department, University of Limerick, Ireland. Profile
Rosemary Daniel, Technical Officer, PESS Department, University of Limerick, Ireland. Profile