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Morocco’s El Bakkali Snatches Gold In Men’s Steeplechase

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali triumphed after a close battle in the 3000m Steeplechase on Monday, breaking Kenya’s three-decade dominance at the Olympics.

Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma took silver ahead of Kenya’s Benjamin Kigen who finished a shocking third while the second Kenyan Abraham Kibiwott came home a distant  tenth position.

El Bakkali clocked 8:08.90, Girma was second in 8:10.38 while Kigen returned 8:11.50 to claim bronze.

African representatives dominated the race with Ethiopia’s Wale Gernet coming in fourth in 8:14.97 while Eritrean Yemane Haileselassie finished in fifth position having clocked 8:15.34.

El Bakkali won Morocco’s first medal since those gleaned by Hicham El Guerrouj in Sydney Olympics.

At the same, he made history becoming the second Moroccan to win a medal in the race after Ali Ezzine’s bronze in 2000 in Sydney.

From the times of Kipchoge Keino to Ezekiel Kemboi, Kenya had dominated the Olympic steeplechase competition throughout the years by winning 21 of 30 medals.

With defending champion Conseslus Kipruto out of the Games having failed to qualify during the national trials, many expected for Kenya to lose the title and it came to happen.


 Photos credit:Reuters/Agencies

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