Ivan Fernandez Anaya showed the world what true sportsmanship looks like on a race track in Navarra, Spain.
Ivan is a long-distance runner from Spain who competes in cross country and marathon races.
He was just about to finish a cross country race when he noticed Abel Mutai, a Kenyan athlete who was in the lead, began to slow down as he approached the finish line.
Abel did not speak Spanish so he got confused by the signs and thought he had already won. Ivan saw what was happening in an instant and could have easily sped past his opponent to win the race himself. Instead, he slowed his own pace and pointed Abel towards the real finish line so he could win.
“He was the rightful winner,” Ivan said later. “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.”
Everyone who witnessed the race was rightfully impressed with Ivan’s actions! He didn’t hesitate to do the right thing, proving that being a good sport is still one of the most important aspects of sports.
Later, a journalist asked Ivan why he didn’t take the opportunity to win the race and he laid out his reason for doing the right thing.
“My dream is that someday we can have a kind of community life where we push ourselves and also others to win,” he answered.
When pressed and reminded he was seconds away from winning the race himself and why he allowed the Kenyan to win instead, he told the journalist, “I didn’t let him win, he was going to win. The race was his.”
“But what would be the merit of my victory? What would be the honour of that medal? What would my Mom think of that?”