Social media users are revisiting the remarkable story of an athlete purposefully losing a race that he could have won that occurred about eight years ago.
In 2012 Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Spanish runner, intentionally lost to Kenyan Opponent, Abel Mutai. Mutai was leading a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. In second and not trailing far behind was Ivan Fernandez Anaya. As they were in the final straight of the race, Abel Mutai slowed down 10 meters prior to the end of the race (Huff Post). This was because Mutai was confused by the signs and thought the race had finished and he had won. Anaya could have easily taken advantage of the situation but chose to push Mutai to the finish line, explaining the race wasn’t yet over.
Since the Kenyan could not understand Spanish, Anaya used hand gestures and guided him to the finishing line. The Spanish hero later said, “I didn’t deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. Anaya let Mutai win and Mutai turned to thank Anaya for his sportsmanship. Mutai competed in the 2012 London Olympic games and finished with a Bronze medal in the 3,000 meter run.
“He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.” Ivan’s coach, Martin Fiz, however, was not impressed by his sportsmanship. According to him, “the gesture has made him a better person but not a better athlete. He has wasted an occasion. Winning always makes you more of an athlete. You have to go out to win.”
Ivan would not buy this argument. When a reporter asked him why he squandered a winning opportunity, he said, “but what would be the merit of my victory? What would be the honour of that medal? What would but my mom think of that? Would my country have felt proud?” [Mtaa Buzz].
ARTICLE: MAUREEN MCGAURAN
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: PRI.ORG
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