In the world of track and field, rivalries and competition burn as fiercely as the blazing speeds that etch themselves into history. From the legendary clashes of Sebastian Coe vs. Steve Ovett to iconic confrontations like Carl Lewis vs. Ben Johnson and Ed Moses vs. Danny Harris, the sport has seen its fair share of notable instances of conflict and altercations over the years.

One such moment made waves in 1992 when an incident became iconic due to its rarity in track and field and the subsequent attention it garnered. One athlete punched the other, propelling him ahead with an intensity that made him win the race. 32 years later, this incident has stirred track and field fans once again, leaving the community in splits.

The track and field altercation that caused waves in 1992


Article continues below this ad

32 years ago During the men’s 10,000-meter final at the 1992 World Junior Championships in Seoul, South Korea, Josephat Machuka, a Kenyan athlete, led for the majority of the race. However, Haile Gebrselassie, an Ethiopian athlete, made a strong kick towards the finish line, overtaking Machuka. As Gebrselassie overtook Machuka near the finish line, Machuka unleashed a blow on Gebrselassie’s back. Despite being staggered by the punch, Gebrselassie managed to maintain his lead, and the punch propelled him ahead as he eventually won the race.

However, Machuka’s action was considered unsportsmanlike, resulting in him being stripped of the silver medal he would have otherwise received while Gebrselassie took home the gold. This incident was posted on X recently by Travis Miller, and despite years passing since the incident, it still managed to leave the track and field community in splits.

Fans share their POV on the situation

Fans have offered their perspectives on the altercation between Josephat Machuka and Haile Gebrselassie, sharing a range of thoughts and reactions in the thread. One fan expressed initial shock at the moment but now finds it amusing.

Another fan humorously suggested thanking Machuka for unintentionally aiding in their race time improvement with his weak push.

Additionally, some fans joked about Machuka’s action making them run faster.

Moreover, there were reflections on Gebrselassie’s tactics during that period, with one track fan mentioning his habit of closely trailing Kenyan athletes, even irritating them by stepping on a competitor’s heel in a previous race.


Article continues below this ad

And one fan shared what they would do if they were in the same situation as Haile Gebrselassie.


Article continues below this ad

As we consider this incident, it prompts reflection on the dynamics of sportsmanship and competition. What are your thoughts about the incident? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Also read: “Not Money but Wording”: Noah Lyles Reveals Difficulties of Staggering Adidas Contract