Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Athletics | International

Mehdi Baala (L) and Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad

Fighting teammates suspended



Top French runners Mehdi Baala and Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad have been suspended pending an inquiry into their embarrassing punch-up on the track on Friday.

Watch the video

The two men squared up and traded blows at the end of the 1 500m, prompting Bernard Amsalem, the president of the French athletics federation, to set up a meeting of the disciplinary committee.

The committee will meet within the next eight days during which time the two runners will be provisionally suspended,

Baala, world silver medallist in 2003 and bronze medallist in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, clashed with Benabbad, the 3000m steeplechase Olympic silver medallist, after the end of Friday's Diamond League race.

The duo had finished 9th and 11th in a high-quality race won by Kenyan Silas Kiplagat, in one of the last outings before the August 27-September 4 world championships in Daegu, South Korea.

But at the end of the race Benabbad lashed out at his senior teammate when he came over to console him, headbutts and slaps shared between the two, to the jeers and whistles of a large crowd at the Louis II stadium.

Fourth-placed Nick Willis of New Zealand had to step in to separate the pair who rounded on each other like boxers, footage of which is already an internet hit through video-sharing website youtube.

The violent exchange did not stop there, however, the runners continuing to exchange strong words as they moved off the track into the bowels of the stadium.

"There was a misunderstanding," said Ghani Yalouz, technical director of the French athletics federation, quoted by L'Equipe daily.

"I told them to apologise to each other and that's what they did."

Baala said immediately after the fracas: "I didn't understand. I went over to see him, moved to put my hand behind his head and he said 'I have a reason for not talking to you', and after that I felt his head against mine.

"When you feel threatened, you do what there is to do. It's pathetic to see things like that. People like that don't have their place in sport. But saying that, it's very rare to see assholes like him."

Benabbad was more measured in his reaction, saying that he had not seen Baala raise his arm to console him when he was on his knees after the race.

"I thought it was all a bit of a laugh, I approached him and he gave me a little headbutt, after which I responded. It's normal."



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Sports Talk



Gary Sobel (Physio)
Comrades training - November 2014
November is all about running a 32 km race! This is the highlight of the year, and will also be...

Reuters on Athletics
Hitting the trail with elite runner Zola Budd
My running partner has generously conceded to my pace and it's not because of the warmth of the...