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revolutionary starting system developed by the sport, for the sport 

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25 February 2019 


The Electronic Start System (TESS) is a revolutionary new munitions-free starting system for athletics, created by Tero Services Limited, which has been developed by the sport, for the sport.

A recent winner of the technology category at the 11th edition of the European Athletics Innovation Awards, ‘The Electronic Starting system’ is an accessible solution to clubs, venues and counties who will have the opportunity to purchase sets in the near future and maintain them as they do all other athletics equipment.

The original idea grew out of finding a solution to eliminate firearms from the sport. A group of senior starters in the north-west of England discussed the best method to address this, and from there Tero Services Limited worked alongside key stakeholders from UK Athletics and the Home Countries to develop a solution.

The system was required to produce both an audible and visual ‘start’ signal, the latter being a high intensity flash for the timekeepers. It also needed to produce an audible “recall” signal and be portable for one-person operation. The system offers multiple ‘recaller’ handsets with a range of several hundred metres, meaning there would be no requirement for cables.

TESS will interface with commonly used Photo Finish and SIS technology and meets the IAAF parameters for “zero control test”.

The system was used at this weekend’s England Athletics age-group championships, following successful implementation at the Welsh Championships which also included the combined events international match; so, TESS had its first operational use at IAAF level, thus can be leveraged at both local and international level. 

UK Athletics’ Interim Chief Executive, Nigel Holl, added:

“The Electronic Start System (TESS) is a revolutionary step forward for athletics. It has been an ambition of UK Athletics to integrate technology further in our sport, and this munitions-free starting system shows a progressive way forward.

“Perhaps best of all, I can see this system making the vital role of starting extremely accessible to a whole new group of official and potential officials. Removing the association with guns was a really important aspect of this development, and I can see this equipment appealing to technology minded individuals who want to develop as officials in athletics.

“We have a number of sets now in operation, but I see the ultimate solution being venues, clubs and Counties purchasing sets and maintaining them as they do other athletics equipment. I'm sure there will be no shortage of officials to take care of them and make sure they are charged before each event.”

“I would like to thank all the stakeholders who have been a part of this process, giving invaluable feedback which has seen the technology develop into a functioning system.”

Chris Wood, Director of Tero Services Limited, said:

“We were asked by UK Athletics to create a solution to move away from the use of firearms and blank ammunition to start athletics races. We realised we needed to interface our system with the photo finish and SIS technology, but we have done that after substantial testing. We now have a product which operates stand-alone yet will interface to a variety of other technology.

“There will be a time when we can’t use firearms any more for a variety of reasons, so a solution is needed for rapid deployment and independent of other technology. I’m delighted UK Athletics are supporting ‘The Electronic Starting System’ from the top level to push this out and make it a solution.”

Any queries about ‘The Electronic Starting System’, please contact: chris@teroservices.co.uk