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French ace Mekhissi-Benabbad stripped of Euro gold

Updated: Friday, 15 Aug 2014 11:13 | Comments

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad lost medal after appeal by Spain
Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad lost medal after appeal by Spain

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad was stripped of his 3,000m steeplechase gold medal at the European Championships for removing his vest on the home straight last night in Zurich.

In a bizarre incident, the pre-race favourite from France chose to break the rules by removing his top, putting it in his mouth and waving to the crowd.

Mekhissi-Benabbad won the race in eight minutes and 7.45 seconds and was shown a yellow card by the officials in Zurich afterwards.

It had looked like the 29-year-old has got away with his indiscretion, only for an appeal from Spain to see him lose the title, with Angel Mullera promoted to bronze medal position and Yoann Kowal of France taking gold.

A tweet from the event's official account, @Euro--Champs, said: "JURY OF APPEAL DECISION: Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad is disqualified from 1st place in the men's 3000m steeplechase after Spain protest.

"France have the opportunity to appeal the Jury's decision, but as it stands, Mullera is steeplechase bronze medalist."

France lodged a counter-protest but that was rejected, with Mekhissi-Benabbad disqualified under IAAF competition rules 143.1, 143.7.

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