The suspects had just stolen more than 3,000 euros in Seville before they ecountered the record holding champion.
Two Spanish robbers who tried to flee on foot after snatching a bag containing 3,000 euros ($3,300) met with more than they bargained for when one of the police officers pursuing them turned out to be a record-holding sprinter.
The pair snatched the bag on Friday from a man who had just been to a bank in the southern Spanish city of Seville, the city's emergency services said on its official Twitter feed.
He quickly alerted the police, saying the bag snatchers had fled in a car.
After realising the police were on their tail, they abandoned the car and tried to run -- but were quickly outpaced, Seville's ABC newspaper reported.
"The suspects, who had just stolen more than 3,000 euros in Seville, didn't know that one of the local police officers who was chasing them was a world-record-holding relay runner, and a Spanish champion with a European masters record for 400 metres," the emergency services tweeted.
"Running for 200-300 metres, I can do that" very quickly, the police officer told Antena3 television, giving his name only as Sergio.
And on collaring one of the crooks, Sergio could not resist telling him: "You've had a bit of bad luck, mate!"