The Algerian runner Taoufik Makhloufi appeared to have made a remarkable recovery last night from an injury that forced him to withdraw from an earlier race, as he took gold in the 1500m final.
But Makhloufi's win would not have been possible but for a dramatic turnaround by Olympic authorities, who had thrown him out of the Games for not trying the day before.
The runner was disqualified after he stopped running in his 800m heat on Monday, just seconds into the race. A referee had decided that he "had not provided a bona fide effort and decided to exclude him from participation in all further events in the competition", according to the Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Makhloufi and his team protested his innocence, claiming that he had withdrawn after sustaining an injury. After consideration, Locog announced the disqualification had been revoked.
"After reviewing evidence provided by a Locog medical officer, the disqualification of athlete 1008 (Makhloufi) from further participation in the athletics competition of the 2012 Olympic Games has been revoked by the IAAF technical delegates. Consequently, Mr Makhloufi is able to compete," it said.There was no sign of the injury last night, however, as the 24-year-old stormed to a convincing victory in the final with a time of 3 minutes, 34.08 seconds. Makhloufi battled with Kenya's Kiprop, but found himself with the front of the pack in the closing stages of the race.
In the last 200 metres, Makhloufi raced to take the lead and put considerable distance between him and his nearest rival, crossing the line to collect his country's first medal of the Games.
American Leonel Manzano won the silver in a time of 3.47.79, with Moroccan Aldalaati Iguider winning bronze. Defending Olympic champion, Asbel Kiprop, came in last after suffering a hamstring injury during the race.
Makhloufi was not the first athlete to have been disqualified from the Games for not trying hard enough. Last week, eight badminton players were kicked out after deliberately underperforming to secure a more favourable quater-final draw.
Two Korean women's pairs, the Chinese top seeds and an Indonesian pair were booed off the courts at Wembley Arena as they tried to throw two matches.
The Badminton World Federation annnounced their disqualification just 12 hours later, after London 2012 organiser Lord Coe described the lack of effort by the players as "depressing" and "unacceptable".Reuse content