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Sunday 21 September 2014

Video: French steeplechaser stripped of European gold after topless celebration

Simon Peach

Published 15/08/2014 | 07:46

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Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France runs with his vest in his mouth down the final straight in the men's 3000 metres steeplechase final during the European Athletics Championships at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich August 14, 2014.                  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann (SWITZERLAND  - Tags: SPORT ATHLETICS)
Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France runs with his vest in his mouth down the final straight in the men's 3000 metres steeplechase final during the European Athletics Championships at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich

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

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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 there was no time frame given for a decision to be made. Once it has been considered by the jury, that decision will be final.

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