By Naila Missous
First they told him to leave. Then they invited him back. Next they gave him the gold.
Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi won the 1,500m gold medal at the London Olympics on Tuesday night, only a day after being kicked out of the Olympics.
On Monday, Makhloufi was disqualified from the games after track and field officials ruled he didn’t try hard enough during a heat in the 800m, claiming he didn’t provide a ‘bona-fide effort’.
Rumours surfaced that he may have simply been conserving energy for Tuesday night’s 1,500m final — which is not unheard of in the world of track — but Algerian coaches insisted Makhloufi pulled out of the 800m because of a left knee injury.
Eventually the disqualification was overturned after a review by a medical officer who provided evidence from the Algerian federation about the Makhloufi’s left knee problem.
Makhloufi made his second chance count, winning the 1,500 title in 3 minutes, 34.08 seconds.
“It was the will of God. Yesterday I was out and today I was in,” Makhloufi said. “I dedicate this to all the people of Algeria and the Arab world.”