HYDERABAD: Kenyan sprinter Abel Mutai and his Spainish counterpart Iván Fernández Anaya are trending on social media.
Users claim that Abel Mutai had stopped a few meters before the finish line due to confusion. This was noticed by Iván Fernández Anaya who was running behind him. But instead of taking advantage of Abel Mutai's pause, he pushed him to the finish line. As a result, Abel Mutai won the race and Ivan came second.
The claim that this incident took place during the ongoing Olympics is false.
NewsMeter performed a reverse image search and found the same image carried by Spanish newspaper "EL PAIS" in December 2012. It states that the incident took place in December 2012 during a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre (Spain).
It reports that Spanish athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.
Fernández Anaya then quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Abel 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. When asked why he did so, Fernández Anaya replied by saying "I didn't deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn't have closed if he hadn't made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn't going to pass him."
The same narrative was also reported by different news agencies including The Hindu, HuffPost, and The Economic Times. The picture was taken during a cross-country race that took place in Spain in December 2012.
"According to El Pais, Mutai mistakenly thought the end of the race came about 10 meters sooner than it did and stopped running. Then, he "looked back and saw the people telling him to keep going," Anaya told CNA. "But since he doesn't speak Spanish he didn't realize it." So Anaya slowed, guiding Mutai to the actual finish line," Huffpost reported.
Iván Fernández Anaya had also posted the same image on his Instagram in December last year thanking the people for making this incident popular and mentioned that December 2 is special for him.
Evidently, it is clear that this incident did not take place during the ongoing Olympics. Thus, the claim is false.