Morocco's Soufiane el-Bakkali wins 3000m steeplechase gold in Tokyo

Soufiane 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.

Soufiane el-Bakkali won the 3000m steeplechase gold medal in eight minutes, 8.90 seconds on a wet track at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.   -  Getty Images

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

El-Bakkali won in eight 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.

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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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