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Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad disqualified

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad

This genius, Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad in photo, decided to bring celebrations to his steeple victory which simply lead to his disqualification. Great for his French team-mate, Yoann Kowal, who moved into the Gold position.

Men’s SteepleChase Drama

There was more shock and surprise at the end of the evening as the disqualification was announced of France’s Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad from what would have been his third consecutive European gold in the 3000m steeplechase.

The Frenchman removed his shirt as he rounded the final bend and encouraged the crowd to respond with upward hand gestures before jamming the shirt into his mouth and clearing the final barrier to finish well clear of the field 8:25.30.

His celebrations all the way down the finishing straight infringed the IAAF rule 125.5 concerning “acting in an unsporting or improper manner”, and he received a yellow card for this from a track official before he started his lap of honour.

But his victory was annulled after a successful application from Spain, whose athletes finished fourth and fifth, to the Jury of Appeal citing IAAF Rules 143.1, 143.7, relating to “clothing, shoes and bibs”. A French counter-claim was dismissed.

The silver, or rather golden lining for France was that the title thus passed to Mekhissi-Benabbad’s team-mate Yoann Kowal, who had moved from fourth to second in the final 200m to finish in 8:26.66 ahead of Krystian Zalewski of Poland, who clocked 8:27.11, with Spain’s Angel Mullera moving up to take bronze in 8:29.16.

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