The World Athletics Championships 2023 will be held in Budapest from August 19 to 27.
Here are the top three contenders for the gold medal in men’s 3000m steeplechase in the Hungarian capital:
Soufiane El Bakkali (Morocco)
Soufiane El Bakkali is the reigning World, Olympic and Diamond League champion in men’s 3000m steeplechase. The 27-year-old from Morocco has made his name in a discipline dominated by Kenyan athletes.
After finishing fourth at Rio Olympics, El Bakkali won gold five years later in Tokyo which made him the first non-Kenyan born gold medallist at the Olympics or World Championships since Poland’s Bronislaw Malinowski in 1987.
This season, El Bakkali has won all three Diamond League meetings he has participated in - Rabat, Stockholm and Silesia - while achieving his personal best in the first.
Personal Best: 7:56.68s
Season’s Best: 7:56.68s
Abraham Kibiwot (Kenya)
Abraham Kibiwot is a 27-year-old steeplechaser from Kenya who won gold medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
He made his World Championships debut in Doha in 2019 where he finished seventh before improving his performance to grab the fifth spot last year in Eugene.
This season, he won the Diamond League meeting in Paris while also finishing second in Silesia and Monaco, and third in Rabat where he achieved a new personal best.
Personal Best: 8:05.51s
Season’s Best: 8:05.51s
Lamecha Girma (Ethiopia)
Lamecha Girma is a 22-year-old steeplechaser from Ethiopia who won silver medals at the last two World Championships and the Tokyo Olympics.
This season, he has only participated in one 3000m steeplechase race - at the Diamond League meeting in Paris where he set a new world record of 7:52.11s, going comfortably past the previous mark of 7:53.63s set by Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen on September 3, 2004.
Personal Best: 7:52.11s
Season’s Best: 7:52.11s
Here’s an athlete who could prove to be the dark horse:-
Avinash Sable (India)
India’s Avinash Sable became the first non-Kenyan athlete to win a medal in the history of Commonwealth Games when he finished second in Birmingham last year with a national record timing of 8:11.20s.
Born in Mandwa, Maharashtra, the 28-year-old Sable is also a soldier in the Mahar Regiment of the Indian army.
He made his World Championships debut in Doha in 2019 where he finished 13th before improving and taking the 11th position in Eugene last year.
This season, Sable has participated at three Diamond League meetings - 10th in Rabat, fifth in Stockholm and sixth in Silesia.
Personal Best: 8:11.20s
Season’s Best: 8:11.63s
World Record - 7:52.11s (Lamecha Girma at 2023 Paris Diamond League)
World Championships Record - 8:00.43s (Ezekiel Kemboi at 2009 World Championships in Berlin)
Olympic Record - 8:03.28s (Conseslus Kipruto at 2016 Rio Olympics)
World-leading performance in 2023 - 7:52.11s (Lamecha Girma at 2023 Paris Diamond League)
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