The general idea is not to hit the hurdles with any signficant force. Even a nudge has to slow you a tiny amount just based on physics. Watch someone like Collin Jackson, or Allen Johnson. Those guys are great technicians over the hurdles. For the most part, none of the hurdlers purposefully tries to catch the hurdles with their heel, it is simply unavoidable many times with that much speed. I know for a fact they don't practice attempting to hit the hurdle instead of clear it.
Paul's time was 15.80, which would have put him in fourth place. And the call was he " intentionally knocked over a hurdle. If, you know the intent of the rule is so you don't gain an advantage....15.8 and dead last ??? Where is the unfair advantage....There is no rule about knocking them over as any hurdler will tell you it is a disadvantage. Paul will overcome this and hopes to compete in Talence.
It's definitely a safety thing. And there HAVE been hurdlers whose technique involved flattening the hurdle deliberately. Handsome Wearing comes to mind immediately. (Yes, that was the guy's name--ran for Villanova.)
Although the rule isn't often enforced, I don't think it's likely to be removed any time soon.
Although there were a few too many decisions that went against the Americans, this may not have been one of them. T&FN staffers watching replays of the race came to the same conclusion right away. (I didn't see the race, so can't comment.)
Official time was 15.85; with that he would have scored a near-PR 8253 and been 4th. It's also easy to posit that with still being in the running he would have done even better than he did in the last 4 events.
Any rule that requires mind reading is probably a good one to get rid of.
But the bigger question is--how can this man be helped--as a hurdler? If anyone has seen him, what does he do wrong and how can it be improved? Because it's really the only thing between him and medal territory.
It's a shame that this young man was DQ'd due to the hurdling violation. However, if the umpires noticed he was knocking down all the hurdles without trying to completing clear them, then they were right for reporting the infraction. After the infraction was reported, it was up to the running referee to rule and the jury of appeals to act if a protest was filed.
Having served as an umpire, this type of violation is more apparent at high school and youth level competitions as opposed to elite level competitions like the Worlds.