The true sportsman – Iván Fernández Anaya

Headlines are always flooded with celebrities and sportsmen winning, or talking bad about fellow colleagues, or caught doping or caught in scandals. But some stories, are legendary and portray what sports teaches you most – being a sportsman. Here is what happened last December in Burlada, Navarre (Spain).

Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was running in a cross country race. He was few metres behind race leader Abel Mutai. Abel is the bronze medalist of 3000 m steeplechase in London Olympics. He had been ahead of Ivan for quite a long distance. As they neared the finishing line, Ivan suddenly saw the Kenyan runner slowing down and stopping. Apparently Abel had mistaken that he had already crossed the finish line.

Instead of making good of the opportunity and overtaking Abel, Ivan stopped behind Abel and through gestures made him understand that the finish line was ahead. Abel then walked ahead and won.

Had Ivan wanted, he could easily taken the title and basked in the glory of fame and fortune that comes with winning such titles. But instead he chose to keep the spirit of game alive and did what an honest true sportsman should do.

In an interview later he said “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.”

What children and adults see on TV everyday, of sports being all about cut throat competition, and winning at “all costs” is not the complete picture. There is much more to being a sportsman. And Iván Fernández Anaya showed the world what it is, by his gesture.

Hats off to you!

Iván Fernández Anaya

— Image Courtesy elpais.com