Els Visser's disqualification from Ironman Maastricht overturned

A court in the Netherlands has overturned Ironman's decision to disqualify Els Visser, ordering the company to reinstate her as the champion and pay her the prize money she would have earned.

| May 29, 2019 | NEWS

Els Visser seen at the awards ceremony of Challenge Almere in 2018.

Els Visser seen at the awards ceremony of Challenge Almere in 2018.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

According to a story posted on 3athlon.nl today, a court in the Netherlands has reinstated Els Visser as the women's winner of Ironman Maastricht last year, an event that also served as the Dutch Long Distance National Championship.

Visser and New Zealand's Sonia Bracegirdle were both disqualified about six weeks after the race for missing a buoy during the swim portion of the event, which was captured on video. As we reported last year (you can read the story here) it appeared the the two were taken off course by a race official.

"I'm so happy. So very happy," Visser told 3athlon.nl. "I didn't dare to hope for anything, so the verdict could only be better than expected. It was my lawyer who was very confident whole the time ... of course I also simply knew that the whole decision to disqualify me, was totally wrong."

The court sent Visser a 24-page document with the ruling, which orders Ironman to pay her the US$12,000 in prize money she would have earned for the win and also requires the Netherlands' triathlon federation to reinstate Visser as the national champion. According to Dutch media reports, part of the ruling says that Ironman did not follow its own regulations in disqualifying Visser as all rulings must be made within minutes after the race finish, unless other information becomes available after the fact. According to the court's ruling, Ironman officials were aware that Visser and Bracegirdle had gone off course before the race had finshed.

After Visser was disqualified from the Ironman Maastricht event, Yvonne Van Vlerken was given the title and also the Dutch Champoinship. Canadian Angela Naeth moved up to third, which saw her standing in the Kona Points Ranking system move high enough to get a qualifying spot for the world championship, where she finished eighth.