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Athletics: silver at the Beijing Games, European record, disqualification and revenge in 2014… The 5 highlights of Mahiedine Mekhissi’s career

The 3000m steeplechase specialist announced his retirement on Tuesday. A long career of fifteen years, during which he left his mark on French athletics.French athlete Mahiedine Mekhissi during his victory in the 1500m at the European Athletics Championships on August 17, 2014 in Zurich (Switzerland). (FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

He no longer had the urge. French athlete Mahiedine Mekhissi announced his retirement on Tuesday January 3.

After fifteen years at the highest European and world level, the Remois decided to hang up, he who no longer took “pleasure to go [s] to train”. I felt it was time to say stop”, he confided to L’Equipe. If today his desire is to “move on, to do something else with [his] life” , Mahiedine Mekhissi has written his name alongside the finest records of French athletics.A look back at his career in five key dates.

2008: revelation at the Beijing Olympics

After the disappointment of the world championships in 2007, where he was eliminated in the series, Mahiedine Mekhissi revealed himself to the whole world at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In the 3,000 m steeplechase, he finished second in his qualifying series. On the day of the final, he hooked his Kenyan competitors to afford his first Olympic medal, silver color.

2012: Olympic confirmation in London

After Beijing, Mekhissi confirms. He gleaned two European titles in the 3,000m steeplechase, in 2010 and 2012. But above all, he was there at the London Games where he won another Olympic silver medal, behind his friend the Kenyan Ezekiel Kemboi, again once unbeatable. Thanks to this medal, he even becomes the third athlete to climb on two consecutive Olympic podiums in the 3,000 m steeplechase, after Volmari Iso-Hollo (1932 and 1936) and Brimin Kipruto (2004 and 2008).

2013: a European record still active

A year after London, he lined up for the 3,000m steeplechase at the Paris meeting. At his side, the Kenyan Ezekiel Kemboi, the one he had deprived of Olympic gold a year before. During this competition, Mahiedine Mekhissi won the European record over the distance (8’00″09), thus improving the mark of his compatriot Bob Tahri (8’01″18). A record he still holds to this day.

Mahiedine Mekhissi finished the 3,000m steeplechase behind the Kenyan Ezekiel Kemboi, with the European record, during the Paris Meeting, on July 6, 2013, at the Stadium of France. (AFP)

2014: a disqualification before the victory

In 2014, the Habs presented themselves in Zurich as double European champion in the distance. Although he crossed the line first, Mahiedine Mekhissi was disqualified for having removed his jersey a few meters from the finish. The case then makes a lot of noise. Annoyed, the Remois took his revenge a few days later by winning the European title in the 1500m, which is not his specialty. “With the context, it’s one of my best victories and one of the biggest. It’s a discipline in which I’ve never competed in a championship and I win with the way,” he confides to the ‘Team, Tuesday 3 January.

2016: fourth European title and bronze at the Olympics

2016 looks a bit like 2012. That year, at the age of 31, the Frenchman won his third European title in Amsterdam in the 3,000m steeplechase, his specialty. A month later, he participated in the Rio Olympics. Still in the 3,000m steeplechase, he finished just off the podium, but was sure to be third. The Frenchman thus lodges a complaint, and wins his case. The Kenyan Ezekiel Kemboi is disqualified for a fault in a turn, in favor of Mekhissi, who gleans the bronze, his third consecutive Olympic medal in as many editions.

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