The final of the 1500m on Monday is scheduled to have 16 runners - which apparently necessitated holding semi-finals of 8 runners and 9 runners respectively. Hopefully your maths is sufficiently on the ball to realise the ramifications of such a calculation.
The semis were held at a second stadium - presumably so the potential farce could be hidden from the masses. I was half expecting a Monty Python slow walk contest as we played out our own rendition of Stephen King's The Long Walk. As it turned out 4 withdrawals meant that no semis were necessary. If the reasons for withdrawal were representative 2 would have been because the wife intervened, 1 would have broken his hip in an "inconsequential fall" leading to pneumonia then death and perhaps the last not wanting to be a part of a race designed to eliminate one runner.
I would have preferred to have run - if only because it would add a little legitimacy to the event. Even now the spectre of mass-withdrawls from the 800m means there is the potential for spending 3 days not competing in a place as interesting as Eucharistic Prayer Number 1.
As it was I only managed 64 minutes at the Games Party - held in a Communist era basketball arena where, if you listened carefully, you could hear the ghostly echo of 'Ivan Drago, Ivan Drago'. I have since learnt getting fleeced at this type of event is a childlike error which the experienced never make twice - unless they suffer from severe dementia.
In fact, underneath an apparently smooth running event there appears to be a cheap and slightly desperate undercurrent. I can't quite put my finger on it but it's a bit like conversing with an estate agent.