New obstacle in steeplechase: a cameraman

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Men compete and move around a camera person on the track during the men's 3000-meter steeplechase final at the World Athletics Championships on Monday, July 18, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

EUGENE, Ore. – A new obstacle appeared out of nowhere on the steeplechase course at world championships.

A cameraman.

Trying to get a great shot of the triple jump competition going on in the infield Monday night, a World Athletics cameraman stepped onto the track, unaware that there was a live race going on behind him.

As a phalanx of runners was approaching the cameramen, the runners spread out to pass him and nobody was hurt.

"I was a little worried that he was going to dart one way or another, right at the last second,” said Evan Jager of the U.S., who finished sixth. “Thankfully he didn’t realize we were there until we all passed him.”

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali won the race in a time of 8 minutes, 25.13 seconds.

He was involved in the strange scene, though maybe not as harrowing as seven years ago at worlds in Beijing. Usain Bolt had just won the 200 meters and a cameraman riding a portable scooter lost control of the scooter and it tumbled onto the track and upended Bolt. He jumped up and dusted himself off, no worse for wear.

World Athletics President Seb Coe said the federation is looking into what happened.

“I don't want to be cavalier about these things,” he said. “But these things happen. He did actually have the presence to recognize what was going on, and he stood still, which is the most important thing. He didn’t move.”

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