Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, Meeting Areva 2009.
March 15, 1985 |
|Event(s)||1000 metres 1500 metres, 3000 metres, 2000 metres steeplechase, 3000 metres steeplechase|
|Achievements and titles|
1500 m outdoor: 3:33.12 (Tomblaine 2013)
Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad (born March 15, 1985 in Reims) is a French track and field athlete who mainly competes in the 3000 metres steeplechase. He is of Algerian origin. Mekhissi-Benabbad is best known for his bad temper and violent behavior after events.
He made his first appearances as a junior athlete in 2004, running at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, where he was 61st in the junior race, and at the 2004 World Junior Championships in Athletics where he competed in the heats of the 3000 m steeplechase. He ran in the 1500 metres at the 2006 European Cup and he was eighth overall. Mekhissi-Benabbad represented France at the 2006 IAAF World Cup, but only managed eighth in the 1500 m event.
He beat all opposition at the 2007 European Athletics U23 Championships to win the steeplechase gold medal. He competed at his first major senior event later that year – the 2007 World Championships in Athletics. However, he was knocked out in the heats stage of the steeplechase competition. He made significant progression in 2008, knocking seconds off his personal best at the 2008 Summer Olympics to win the Olympic silver medal behind Brimin Kipruto. He became the first non-Kenyan in 24 years to finish second or first in the Olympic steeplechase event. He improved further at the 2008 Weltklasse Zürich meeting, finishing behind Paul Kipsiele Koech but taking second place in a personal best time of 8:08.95, making him the fourth fastest steeplechaser that year.
He opened 2009 with an appearance over 3000 metres at the Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix, where he registered a personal best of 7:53.50. Another best came in the steeplechase at the FBK Games in Hengelo, again behind Kipruto, as he took second place in 8:06:98. Mekhissi-Benabbad took a prominent IAAF Golden League circuit win at the Meeting Areva with a time of 8:13.23, and he was selected for the 2009 World Championships. He was seen as a possible medallist but he failed to complete his heat after suffering an injury in the last lap of the race.
He took part in the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships, his first major indoor competition, and he reached the final of the 1500 m and finished in eighth with a time of 3:45.22. During the outdoor season of 2010, he scored a steeplechase win in 8:08.82 over Ezekiel Kemboi and Richard Mateelong at the Meeting International Mohammed VI d'Athlétisme de Rabat. Competing in the Reims event of the French Alma Athlé Tour on 30 June 2010, he beat Bouabdellah Tahri's world record in the 2000 m steeplechase – who himself had beaten Julius Kariuki's 20-year-old world record five days earlier. Mekhissi-Benabbad's world record time of 5:10.68 in that 2000 m steeplechase race knocked nearly three seconds of the old mark.
Conflicts in the Media
On July 1, 2012, the Finnish newspaper Karjalainen reported an incident involving Mekhissi-Benabbad at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki. After the 3000 meter steeplechase final, Mekhissi-Benabbad pushed the games mascot who was trying to give him a small trophy. The mascot was a 14 year old girl. This was not the first time that Mekhissi-Benabbad had abused a mascot. After winning the same race in 2010 championships in Barcelona, Mekhissi-Benabbad asked a mascot to kneel in front of him and proceeded to push the mascot into the ground. 
The incident on 1 July, 2012 followed another incident a year earlier on 22 July 2011 involving Mekhissi-Benabbad, in which he traded blows with his fellow competitor and compatriot Mehdi Baala on the track right after the 1500m race of the Monaco meeting of the IAAF Diamond League. The French Athletics Federation handed Mekhissi-Benabbad and Baala a suspension of 10 months each - 5 months suspended - from all European Athletics and IAAF track meets. Both were each fined 1500 euros and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. Mekhissi-Benabbad and Baala were nevertheless cleared to take part in the upcoming 2011 World Championships. 
|1000 metres outdoor||2:17.14||Tomblaine, France||26 June 2009|
|1500 metres outdoor||3:33.12||Tomblaine, France||2 July 2013|
|2000 metres steeplechase outdoor||5:10.68||Reims, France||30 June 2010|
|3000 metres outdoor||7:44.98||Hengelo, Holland||30 May 2010|
|3000 metres steeplechase outdoor||8:00.09||Paris, France||6 July 2013|
- All information taken from IAAF profile.
International competition record
- Estejuoksun voittaja sikaili EM-kisoissa. (in Finnish). Iltalehti. (2012-07-01). Retrieved on 2012-07-01.
- "Unsporting: runner wins, then shoves mascot". The Age. July 3, 2012. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Turner, Chris (2008-08-29). Jelimo hones in on historic mark; Bolt electrifies in Zürich – ÅF Golden League. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-04-27.
- 3000 Metres Steeplechase 2008. IAAF (2010-03-04). Retrieved on 2010-04-28.
- Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix 2009. IAAF (2009-05-08). Retrieved on 2010-04-28.
- van Hemert, Wim Four world leads in Hengelo – IAAF World Athletics Tour. IAAF (2009-06-01). Retrieved on 2010-04-28.
- Turner, Chris (2009-07-17). Bolt beats rain again, 9.79sec into slight head wind in Paris – REPORT – ÅF Golden League. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-07-22.
- Ramsak, Bob (2009-08-16). Event Report – Men's 3000m Steeplechase – Heats. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-08-17.
- Benchrif, Mohammed (2010-06-07). Fraser as expected and surprise from Mekhissi in Rabat – IAAF World Challenge. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-06-07.
- Vazel, Pierre-Vazel (2010-07-01). 2000m Steeple World best falls again, this time to Mekhissi-Benabbad in Reims; Robles hurdles 13.09. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-01.
- Associated Press. "Brawling runners cleared for worlds". ESPN Olympic Sports. Associated Press. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- "French runners provisionally suspended after Monaco brawl". BBC. July 23, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad.|