May 18, 2014
Taoufik Makhloufi got what he deserved.
Coming down the homestretch at the Shanghai Diamond League 800m, it was a four-way battle for victory and $10,000 as hardly any distance separated the top four. South Africa’s Andre Olivier had the lead into the homestretch but it looked like one of the three chasers would pass him. However, Olivier didn’t go without a fight. As the pursuers moved up on him, they too started to slow and Olivier maintained his tiny lead.
Finally, the 2012 Olympic 1500m champion Makhloufi edged into the lead from Olivier. Olivier had no response and Makhloufi began to celebrate his ‘win’ by sticking his tongue and putting his arms out wide like he was an airplane.
The only problem? There still were 12-15 meters of running left.
As Makhloufi celebrated, Robert Biwott of Kenya, last year’s world youth 1500m champion, was taking advantage of his first opportunity in the Diamond League. He was doing what Makhloufi wasn’t, running all out to the line. Biwott was on the outside of Makhloufi and he came by Makhloufi for the win in 1:44.69 to Makhloufi’s 1:44.73.
Makhloufi was too busy celebrating and directing his gaze at the finishing clock on the inside of the track to see that Biwott had gone by him for the win. After the race, he continued to celebrate as raised his arms and posed for cameras.
He certainly was acting like the winner and was even given the winner’s flowers as a result by a meet volunteer. Eventually, a meet official came over and pointed at the stadium results to show Makhloufi that he was not the winner and took his flowers.
Biwott was your winner. The 18-year-old had dominated the world youth 1500m championships last year winning by over 5 seconds. He marked his arrival on the senior stage with a huge personal best as his previous best was a 1:46.98 from last year.
The three Americans: Brandon Johnson, Erik Sowinski, and Tyler Mulder did not take advantage of a golden opportunity to perform on the world’s biggest stage. Sowinski, thanks to the 1:44.58 her ran at Mt. Sac still has the fastest 2014 time of anyone in the field, but he was nowhere near that today and only managed a 1:46.89 for 10th here. Mulder was .02 ahead of him in a season’s best of 1:46.87. Brandon Johnson, in his third race in 9 days, did improve to a season’s best of 1:46.67, but could very well find himself the alternate at World Relays next week.
This one was a four-way battle the final 200m as Biwott, Makhloufi, Olivier and Jeremiah Mutai were clear of the field. The Americans were all in the second group. Marcin Lewandowski of Poland in his first outdoor race was the best of that group in 1:45.92 for 5th but that was over a second behind fourth.
Future star alert: Remember the name Robert Biwott. A 3:36.77 dominatoin of the World Youths was great but a DL victory in his first appearance ever? Wow.
This one was very tight at the end. .16 separated the top 4.
Results and photos via the broadcast below.