Updated: Aug 5
After taking gold for the 3,000-meter steeplechase run in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which took place last summer due to COVID-19, the Moroccan steeplechase runner Eli Bakkali once again captured a gold medal. Competing Monday night at the World Athletic Championship games, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, he crossed the line in 8 minutes, 25.13 seconds, to become the first Moroccan to win the event. He accomplished this feat by defeating three-time silver medalist Lamecha Girma, of Ethiopia, who finished at 8 minutes, 26.01 seconds, and seven-time gold medalist (and 2019 Champion) Conseslus Kiprupto, of Kenya, who finished at 8 minutes, 27.97 seconds, for bronze.
Bakkali stayed near the back of the first pack for much of the race, until he asserted his will in the last 200 meters and roared back to the front to claim the gold. He celebrated his thrilling achievement by saying, “I am the king of steeplechase because I have gained confidence on the track. That's why I am the Olympic champion and now the world champion."
He continued, "The course was very tactical, slow. We had very good runners like defending champion Kipruto, I positioned well in the last lap. I am very strong in the 400 meters and it worked out for me. After the semi-final I had a good look at the strategy of the Kenyan athletes. I was on my own, the only Moroccan in the race, but I did not limit myself to winning silver or bronze. Instead I managed to come first in two world league meetings and now the World Championship.”
The 26-year old star steeplechase runner is now a three-time gold medalist, with seven medals overall to his name. He won his first with a silver at the 2017 World Champions in England in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, with a time of 8 minutes, 14.49 seconds. Can he continue to reign supreme as the ultimate king of steeplechase? It doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon.
Enjoy this wondrous masterpiece.