The International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body of global athletics, or track and field, pushed back the start of its biennial world championships by several weeks after awarding the 2019 competition to Doha, Qatar.
It’s incredibly hot in Qatar, so the hope was that by pushing the championships back that athletes would have somewhat cooler temperatures for competition. But on Friday night as men toed the line for the first heat of the 5,000 meter preliminaries, it was still 90 degrees.
With just a few hundred meters left, Aruban athlete Jonathan Busby slowed to a walk and was nearly doubled over, likely from cramping.
Fellow runner Braima Suncar Dabó, from the small West African nation of Guinea-Bissau, came up to Busby and grabbed his arm, and the two began shuffling together around the final turn. After several steps Dabó lifted Busby’s left arm and put it around his shoulder, holding him up.
The crowd inside the stadium roared as it watched the beautiful display of sportsmanship.
Dabó and Busby crossed the finish line and Busby collapsed to the track — but not before turning off the stopwatch on his wrist. Each man was the only athlete from his respective country competing at Worlds this year; the IAAF allows every country to enter one athlete in the meet regardless of whether he or she has met the qualifying standard in an event.
Busby was disqualified for receiving assistance, but he can say he crossed the finish line.
Dabó, amazingly, ran a personal best time despite nearly carrying Busby over the final 150 meters or so.
“I just wanted to help the guy finish the race,” Dabó told media. “I wanted to help him cross the line. I think anyone in that situation would have done the same thing.”
The moment was reminiscent of the 1992 Olympics, when British 400 meter runner Derek Redmond suffered a hamstring injury while running and his father came out of the stands to help his son finish the race.
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