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Brawling runners cleared for worlds

PARIS -- The French athletics federation cleared middle-distance runners Mehdi Baala and Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad to compete in the world championships.

Baala and Mekhissi-Benabbad, both Olympic medalists, had been provisionally suspended by the FFA after trading punches at the end of the 1,500-meter race during last month's Herculis meeting in Monaco.

The FFA's disciplinary committee met Thursday and gave both a 10-month suspension -- with five months as suspended -- from all European Athletics and IAAF track meets. Both were fined $2,130 and ordered to do 50 hours of community service.

But the FFA says the punishments "do not prevent the parties concerned from being selected in the France team" for the worlds.

Baala finished third in the 1,500 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, while Mekhissi-Benabbad was second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

The worlds start Aug. 27 in Daegu, South Korea.