António Leitão came to prominence as a junior, winning a 5,000 m bronze medal at the 1979 European Junior Championships. In 1981, he won his first (and last) national titles, earning accolades in the 5K and the steeple chase. A new Portuguese record of 13:07.70 set the following year propelled him to the international top. Leitão reached the 5,000 m final at the 1983 World Championships, coming home in 10th place. At the 1984 Olympics, he again qualified for the final. Setting a high pace early in the race, he managed to shake of all but Saïd Aouita and Markus Ryffel, who would eventually pass him in the final sprint, leaving Leitão the bronze. This make him only the second Portuguese male track and field athlete (behind Carlos Lopes) to medal. It would also be Leitão's greatest achievement, subsequently only reaching one more international final (5th at the 1986 Europeans). He has also won a medal at the 1984 World Cross Country Championships, finishing third in the team competition behind Ethiopia and the USA. Retiring from sports in 1991, Leitão died relatively young after suffering from haemochromatosis, or iron overload.
Personal Best: 5000 – 13:07.70 (1982).
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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