Braima Dabo made a bigger impact than any medalist at the track world championships Friday.
A rush of electricity jolted the crowd in Doha, Qatar, as Dabo approached the finishing line in the 5,000-meter race. But not because of the speed of the runner from Guinea-Bissau, or because he was locked in a fight for first. Instead, the crowd at Khalifa International Stadium rose to its feet because of an act of exceptional sportsmanship.
Dabo had wrapped his arm around Aruban racer Jonathan Busby, who was gassed and struggling to stay upright. Dabo assisted him all the way through the finish line, where Busby collapsed.
“I saw he was not running in the right way, he was leaning, I realized he wasn’t going to finish," the Portuguese-speaking runner told Reuters. "I knew I wasn’t going to beat my personal record, so when I realized that, it was better to go for the main aim, which was to finish the race. My thoughts were to help him finish, that is the point of the race.”
Dabo helped his stumbling rival all the way from the last turn through the end line.
Busby and Dabo were both the lone representatives from their respective countries at the championships, according to the AP. They each received special invites for countries that do not historically excel in track.
Dabo did record a personal record time — although he said he’s had faster finishes, the AP reported. He said Busby thanked him.
“It was something normal to do, to help someone from another country," Dabo said humbly after the race. “Because (Busby) was representing his country as well.”