French Runner Assaults Young Mascot
Has history of mascot run-ins
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French Olympic runner Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad assaulted a 14-year-old girl in a mascot costume after winning the European Athletic Championships’ 3,000-meter steeplechase in Helsinki on Friday. After crossing the line, the Algerian-born Benabbad slapped a gift bag from “Appy” the mascot’s hand and shoved her with both hands. The girl recovered quickly, but the European Athletics Association has not ruled out the possibility of reprimanding Benabbad. In 2010, after winning the same race, Benabbad told a mascot to kneel in front of him before knocking him to the ground. Benabbad was also suspended for 10 months in July 2011 after fighting his teammate Mehdi Baala at the finish line of the 1,500-meter at the Monaco Diamond League games.
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