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Morocco’s el-Bakkali Wins Steeplechase Gold

Morocco’s el-Bakkali Wins Steeplechase Gold

Monday, 2 August, 2021 - 18:00
Soufiane el-Bakkali, of Morocco, celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP)

Soufiane el-Bakkali of Morocco has won the 3,000-meter steeplechase to end more than 40 years of Kenyan Olympic dominance.

El-Bakkali won in 8 minutes, 8.90 seconds on a wet track at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. He finished well clear of Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia, who took the silver.

Benjamin Kigen claimed a bronze for Kenya after Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale, who was third heading to the final straight, fell. Wale struggled back to his feet and clung on for fourth.

The 25-year-old el-Bakkali was fourth at the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and on the podium at the last two world championships, but this was his first major title.

Kenya had won nine straight Olympic golds in the 3,000 steeplechase since 1980. Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto, the leading star of the steeplechase, didn’t defend his Olympic title in Tokyo after failing to make the Kenyan team at the national trials.

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