Filbert Bayi

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Filbert Bayi (born June 23, 1953 in Karatu ) is a former Tanzanian middle distance and obstacle runner . He broke the 1,500 m world record single- handedly at the British Commonwealth Games in Christchurch in 1974 and won an Olympic silver medal.

Filbert Bayi made his international debut at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where he was eliminated in the 1500 m and 3000 m obstacle run. Soon after this sobering start, Bayi's rapid rise to the top of the world began, combined with the development of his tactics of daring escapes and going it alone. This brought him victory at the Pan-African Games in Lagos in 1973 . Among other things, the legendary Kip Keino was in the defeated field . At the World Games in Helsinki that same year, he ran to third position on the all-time best list over 1500 m.

Bayi secured his place in the track and field history books at the age of just 20 on February 2, 1974 at the British Commonwealth Games in Christchurch . With the starting shot, he took the lead in the 1500 m field. He completed the first lap in 54.9 seconds and kept the pace high. On the last lap, John Walker (NZL) began to shorten the gap and was just one meter behind Bayi at the start of the home straight. But he held against it, increased the lead again and had improved Jim Ryun's world record by almost one second to 3: 32.16 minutes. In order to be able to classify Bayi's performance correctly, one has to make it clear that since then, with the exception of Wilson Kipketer's 800-meter indoor world records, no middle and long-distance world record with a start-to-finish victory has been achieved.

On May 17, 1975 in Kingston , Bayi also set the world record in the mile run in a time of 3: 51.0 minutes with another impressive solo run . He lost this record three months later to Walker, who again came second in Kingston.

The rivalry between Walker and Bayi determined the 1500m and mile races in 1975 and 1976, so the clash at the Montreal Summer Olympics was eagerly awaited. The African Olympic boycott dashed hope for a high-class duel, Walker won the gold medal in the absence of Bayi. Bayi was not at his best in 1976 either, because he suffered from malaria, which in later years repeatedly led to breaks in competitions.

At the Commonwealth Games in 1978 , Bayi's solo effort in the 1500 m final was unsuccessful. David Moorcroft (GBR) overtook him shortly before the finish and he had to be satisfied with silver.

Two years later, at the Olympic Games in Moscow , Bayi still got an Olympic medal honor when he won the silver medal in the 3000 m obstacle course in 8: 12.5 minutes behind Bronisław Malinowski (POL). Here, too, he started the race well below the world record and was already far away from the field. But the more experienced Malinowski caught up meter by meter and passed the last moat past the completely exhausted Bayi. In the last few years of his career he was also active as a long-distance runner and was successful in road runs . For example, in 1984 he won the Bern Grand Prix over ten miles.

After the end of his sports career, Bayi showed great commitment in setting up the Filbert Bayi Foundation based in Mkuza (Tanzania), which has been promoting young athletes since 2003. Educating young people about the dangers of AIDS and ways out of poverty is also one of their goals.

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