PARIS (Reuters) - French team mates Mehdi Baala and Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad have been provisionally suspended after trading blows in an extraordinary incident after the 1,500 meters at the Monaco Diamond League.
Baala finished ninth in Friday’s race while Mekhissi, the Olympic 3,000 steeplechase silver medalist, came in 11th but an attempt to console each other went badly wrong.
At one point Baala head-butted Mekhissi who responded by swinging his arms wildly as he threw a series of punches, some of which missed their intended target.
“Following the unspeakable behavior of Mehdi Baala and Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad ... the president of the French Athletics Federation decided today to hold an emergency disciplinary hearing,” a federation statement said on Saturday.
“At the same time the federal office under the general regulations has decided on a temporary suspension of the two athletes until the meeting of the disciplinary commission. It will meet as an emergency and within eight days.”
The pair were separated on the track but the row did not stop there as they exchanged strong words in the media zone after Mekhissi appeared to slap Baala.
“I‘m going to break you in two,” an angry Baala responded.
Writing by Mark Meadows, editing by Tony Jimenez