And The Winner Is…

The man who finished first or the man who helped him?

I read and found the story of Iván Fernández Anya inspiring. Not because of the race but because of what he did and the lessons learnt about his action which is now being remembered and acknowledged by most after the action.

On December 2, Spanish athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Spain. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Basque runner of 24 years who is considered an athlete with a big future (champion of Spain in the 5,000 meters two years ago) said after the test,”I didn’t deserve to win it,” says 24-year-old Fernández Anaya. “I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. 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.”

What an a,asking action by Anya. His action reminds me of the word of God that says

The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3

Integrity preserves a man and ensures men keep talking about you years after you e taken action based on your integrity. Integrity preserves!

Fernández Anaya is coached by former Spanish distance runner, Martín Fiz, who said ‘It was a very good gesture of honesty.A gesture of the kind that isn’t made any more. A gesture that I myself wouldn’t have made. I certainly would have taken advantage of it to win.  I wouldn´t have done it. I would have taken advantage of the mistake to win.’

Anaya’s final though on the matter was, ‘even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won.’ 

I completely agree with him. Integrity matters and genuinely makes you a winner. I implore you to always choose integrity over personal gain and you will see God lift you beyond your wildest dream.

God is on your side! 


See the story and pictures at

2 replies on “And The Winner Is…”

Oh wow, inspirational. I immediately put myself right in this man’s shoes and asked myself what would I have done? May God help me to stand upright when He is counting on me to so that my light will shine and many will give glory to my father in heaven. Thanks PB for this.

Integrity is a great virtue. It has been rightly said that “diligence may take you the top, integrity will keep you there”

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