The annual Peachtree Road Race in Georgia ended in heartbreak for defending champion Senbere Teferi who mistakenly made a wrong turn just within sight of the finish line, losing out on the $10,000 first place prize.
Teferi, a two-time Olympian and long distance runner representing Ethiopia, finished in third place just four seconds behind Fotyen Tesfay in the Elite Women’s category on Tuesday after she mistakenly followed a police motorbike that appeared to be leading the pack in the 10k road race.
Organizers of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race released a statement saying it was “disappointed” over the incident.
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“As our defending champion, Senbere Teferi, was approaching the finish line, it looks like she momentarily became confused and followed a police motorcycle when it turned off the course.
“She was within sight of the finish banner, but we understand that in the heat of competition instructions can be misinterpreted. As an organization, we are disappointed whenever we fall short of perfection, and in this case, it appears we did.”
According to the AJC, Teferi held the lead for the majority of the race before making that final turn.
“I was really upset by Senbere’s mistake because she was in the front and she was leading, but she took that last turn,” Tesfay, the first place finisher, said of the result, via the New York Post.
“I saw the finish line. At first I thought they didn’t really show us that well yesterday where the finish was. But after I saw that car turn, I saw the finish sign in front of me, so I pushed ahead. But I was really upset because I really planned to stick with Senbere at the finish.”
According to the Post, Teferi missed out on the $10,000 prize and instead settled for $3,000 awarded to the third place finisher.
Teferi made her Olympic debut at the Summer Games in 2016 where she finished fifth in the women’s 5,000 meter. At the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, she finished sixth in the same event.
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