French runner Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad is a poor sport, even after winning. The Frenchman celebrated victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the European Championships by roughing up a 14-year-old girl in a mascot costume.
The two-handed shove was so vicious and utterly uncalled for that veteran sports reporters were shocked. Instead of being happy about his 8.33.23-minute victory, the Algerian-born athlete walked over to the championship's mascot “Appy”, which was being worn by a 14-year-old girl, and slapped a gift bag out of her hands and shoved her, hard, using both hands.
The girl was reportedly slightly winded by Mekhissi-Benabbad’s unexpected assault, according to theage.comau.
Meanwhile, Championship organizers were voiced their disapproval but took no immediate action against the French runner.
“Hopefully, the EAA (European Athletics Association) would deal with the case,” said Championship director Mika Muukka.
The incident was not the first time Mekhissi-Benabbad picked on a mascot. After winning the same race at the 2010 championships in Barcelona, he told a mascot to kneel before him; he proceeded to push it to the ground, according to Le 10 Sport.
In 2011, he was suspended for 10 months after getting into a fight with fellow French runner, Mehdi Baala, at the finish line of the 1500m race at the Monaco Diamond League games.
The two were in a push-and-shove match before officials managed to separate them.