Kenya’s dominance of the men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase at the Olympics was ended by World bronze medallist Morocco’s Soufiance El Bakkali in Tokyo, Japan on Monday, August 2nd, 2021.
El Bakkali became the first non-Kenyan to win the Olympic gold event since Poland’s Bronisław Malinowski won the title in Moscow in 1980.
El Bakkali won gold ahead of the World silver medallist and Ethiopia’s 3000m steeplechase national record holder Lamecha Girma and the 2018 Prefontaine Classic champion Kenya’s Benjamin Kigen.
The 25-year-old made his move at the final water jump, moving past the Ethiopian duo of Lamecha Girma and Getnet Wale to claim the title in a time of eight minutes, 08.90 seconds (8:08.90). Girma finished second with a time of 8:10.38, with Kenya’s Benjamin Kigen rounding off the podium in third with 8:11.45.
The 3,000m steeplechase has been Kenya’s domain since 1968, where they have won the gold medal in every Olympics but Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980, which they boycotted.
El Bakkali came into the Games as one of the favourites for a historic run in the absence of Kenya’s defending champion Conseslus Kipruto.
El Bakkali has demonstrated his pedigree finishing second behind Kipruto at the London World Championships in 2017 and winning bronze at the Doha showpiece two years later.