The exhausted runner of a 5000-metre race who was half carried across the finish line has described the athlete who helped him as ‘the biggest man with the biggest heart’ and ‘like an angel’.
Guinea-Bissau’s Braima Dabo, 26, half carried Jonathan Busby, 33, of Aruba across the finishing line to huge cheers from the crowds at Khalifa International Stadium.
When the pair cross the finish line Mr Busby fell to the ground in pain and exhaustion and was promptly disqualified on the opening day of the Championships on Friday.
The runner needed help when he reached the final 300 metres as exhaustion took over and suspected cramp caused his legs to give way ahead of the last lap.
‘I was at the last 300 metres and my legs were getting tired. And afterwards I passed out because everyone was cheering but my legs went out,’ Mr Busby said.
‘What happened was I was feeling I was going to fall. I was leaning forward. Then this guy grabbed me on my shoulders and dragged me until the finish line.
‘I got disqualified but that doesn’t count. I finished at the finish line and that is what counts so this is big. This guy is the biggest man with the biggest heart.
‘It was like an angel, something special and I just kept going with the flow so I just kept going and the crowd was cheering but all he was saying was “let’s cross the finish line”.’
As he is running slowly along the track Mr Dabo catches up to him, an entire lap ahead, and grabs him by the arm to encourage him along.
Pulling Mr Busby across the line Mr Dabo sacrificed his own race but still managed to run a personal best.
He finished with a time of 18 minutes 10.87 seconds – five minutes behind the winner Salemon Barega.
And speaking to reporters through a translator afterwards he said: ‘I wanted to represent my country since it is an international competition. It is good for me to help people.
‘I wanted to represent my country and have the best performance.’
The race, in which Great Britain’s Andrew Butchart finished seventh to scrape into the final, was won by Mr Barega for Ethiopia in a time of 13 minutes 24.69 seconds.
When Mr Busby and Mr Dabo met for the first time the former told reporters he had been professionally running from the age of 23.
‘I am a good athlete I compete in races both national and international. I do 5km, 10km and half marathons. I don’t do marathons yet,’ he said.
‘But I do love running and I run every day. It started when I was smaller but I started running when I was 23.
‘If I had started younger then it would have been a different story but I wouldn’t change anything.’
After the race Mr Busby met with Kenyan coaches who watched his race and had some tips to offer.
In a post to social media he said: ‘I always have heard that amazing things happens in the world championships.
‘So for instance I was looking forward to achieve a personal best but instead I made a new friend. What a great human being.’
And in a post to social media today Mr Busby shared a picture of himself out on a 30 minute, 6km ‘recovery run’.
The extraordinary act of generosity has been compared to the Brownlee brothers at the end of the World Triathlon Series in Mexico in 2016.
An exhausted Jonny Brownlee was helped over the finish line by his brother Alistair when he became too tired to keep running.
Alistair gave up his chance of winning the race in favour of supporting his sibling.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Emer Scully