Fernández Anaya was near the end of a cross country race when he saw his competitor make a mistake.
Here’s our good act of the week. When Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross country race, he saw a Kenyan man, Abel Mutai, in the lead mistakenly stop running, thinking he had already won the race. Instead of taking over his competitor and laughing at him for his mistake, Anaya remained behind him and used hand motions toward toward the finish line.
We found this through The Charter for Compassion’s Facebook page who posted this remarkable photo with the following description submitted to them by Compassionate Action Network supporter Margaret Stine in Auckland, New Zealand:
Is winning all that counts? Are you absolutely sure about that?
Very little has been said about this…..On December 2, Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, (sic) som…e distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.
Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.
Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain of 5,000 meters in promise category two years ago) said after the test:
“But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”
He said at the beginning: unfortunately, very little has been said of the gesture. And it’s a shame. In my opinion, it would be nice to explain to children, so they do not think that sport is only what they see on TV: violent kicks in abundance, posh statements, fingers in the eyes of the enemy …
What would you have done in Anaya’s situation?
Photo credit: The Charter for Compassion, Facebook