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Runner at world championships helps exhausted rival finish race

Braima Suncar Dabo helps Jonathan Busby to the finish line Friday. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP)

Braima Suncar Dabo prepared for the men’s 5,000-meter race on the first night of the world track and field championships Friday in Doha, Qatar, with the goal of representing his Guinea-Bissau homeland “as well as possible.” He did that and more with a touching display of sportsmanship.

With Jonathan Busby of Aruba on the verge of collapse on the last lap, Dabo slowed and helped Busby round the last turn and cross the finish line nearly five minutes later as the crowd at Khalifa Stadium gave them a standing ovation.

“The main objective was to represent my country as well as possible and I’m happy I could help the other guy,” he said Friday (via Reuters). “I saw he was not running in the right way, he was leaning, I realized he wasn’t going to finish.

“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, 26, held Busby until emergency personnel ran onto the track and took Busby, 33, off in a wheelchair. Both men are the only athletes representing their countries at the competition.

“He thanked me and he was suffering, he couldn’t really speak,” Dabo said, adding that the two don’t speak the same language, anyway.

“Any athlete in that situation would do the same thing,” Dabo said (via the Associated Press). “It was something normal to do, to help someone from another country, because [he] was representing his country as well.”

The heat was won by Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega in a time of 13 minutes 24.69 seconds. Busby was disqualified and Dabo’s time, nearly five minutes slower than Barega, was officially recorded as a personal best, although he pointed out that he has run faster in the past.

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