Filbert Bayi

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Filbert Bayi
Medal record
Competitor for  Tanzania
Olympic Games
Silver 1980 Moscow 3000 m Steeple
Commonwealth Games
Gold 1974 Christchurch 1500 metres
All-Africa Games
Gold 1973 Lagos 1500 metres
Gold 1978 Algiers 1500 metres

Filbert Bayi Sanka (born June 23, 1953) is a former Tanzanian middle-distance runner[1] of the 1970s who set the world records for 1500 metres in 1974 and the mile in 1975. He is still the 1500 m Commonwealth Games record holder.

Career[edit]

Born in Arusha, Tanzania, his greatest moment was arguably the 1500 m final at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, when he won the gold medal ahead of New Zealand runner John Walker and Kenyan Ben Jipcho. Bayi set a new world record of 3 min 32.16 s, ratified by the IAAF as 3:32.2, and Walker went under the old world record set by Jim Ryun as well. Third place Jipcho, fourth place Rod Dixon, and fifth place Graham Crouch also ran the fourth, fifth, and seventh fastest 1500 m times to that date. It is still classed as one of the greatest 1500 m races of all time. There was no jockeying for position in the race; Bayi led from the beginning in a fast pace and was 20 metres ahead at 800 metres, the other runners strung out in a line behind him. See the finish of the race in this video.

"Think about the change that occurred in the 1500m at Christchurch. The 1500m was usually a slow race and then a sprint [at the finish]. But in 1974 I changed that from the beginning to the end. And not many people have thought about that."

—Filbert Bayi[2]

In 1975, Bayi broke Ryun's eight-year-old mile record by clocking 3:51.0 in Kingston, Jamaica on 17 May. The record was short-lived as Walker became history's first sub-3:50 miler on 12 August of the same year, running 3:49.4 at Gothenburg.

It was hoped[by whom?] that the Bayi-Walker clash would continue but, because Tanzania boycotted the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, it never materialized. However, since Bayi was suffering from a bout of malaria shortly before the Olympics, he may not have been able to challenge Walker even had there been no boycott.

Bayi won a silver medal in the 3000 m steeplechase at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He ran 8:12.5 behind Bronisław Malinowski.[3]

He won the 1500 m race at the 1973 All-Africa Games, with Kipchoge Keino gaining silver. Bayi successfully defended his title at the 1978 All-Africa Games.

Later life[edit]

After retirement Bayi has spent much effort in setting up the Filbert Bayi Foundation which aims to guide young sporting talent in Tanzania. It is based in Mkuza, about 50 km from Dar es Salaam. The complex also aims to educate young people about HIV and AIDS, plus ways of getting out of poverty. The foundation started in 2003. Bayi has also opened a Primary and Nursery school based in Kimara, as well as the Secondary school which is based in Kibaha. The schools have been partnered with Barlby High School as part of the Dreams and Teams project set up by the British Council/Youth Sport Trust. The school hosted students from Barlby High School in January and February 2008.[citation needed] Bayi is also a member of the IAAF Technical Committee[4] and is Secretary-General of the Tanzanian Olympic Committee.[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]


Records
Preceded by
United States Jim Ryun
Men's 1500 m World Record Holder
February 2, 1974 – August 15, 1979
Succeeded by
United Kingdom Sebastian Coe
Preceded by
United States Jim Ryun
Men's Mile World Record Holder
May 17, 1975 – August 12, 1975
Succeeded by
New Zealand John Walker