Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion El Bakkali to grace Kip Keino Classic


Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion El Bakkali to grace Kip Keino Classic

In Summary

  • El Bakkali recently ended Kenya’s dominance in 3000m steeplechase at the just concluded Tokyo Olympics when he bagged a gold medal
  • Meet director Barnabas Korir said El Bakkali has always expressed his desire to train and compete in Kenya, a country he admires for its rich distance running tradition.

Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Soufianne El Bakkali of Morocco has been confirmed for the second edition of the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour meeting set for September 18.

The event which will be the final leg of the Continental Tour Gold series will be held at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

El Bakkali recently ended Kenya’s dominance in 3000m steeplechase at the just concluded Tokyo Olympics when he bagged a gold medal becoming the first non-Kenyan to win the Olympic gold medal in the 3,000 metres steeplechase since Poland’s Bronisław Malinowski won the title in Moscow in 1980.

The 25-year-old won with a time of eight minutes, 08.90 seconds with Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma finishing second with 8:10.38, and 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 when Amos Biwott won the ground-breaking gold at the Mexico Games.

The only time Kenya did not feature on top of the podium at the Games was when Kenya boycotted the competition in Montreal in 1976 and Moscow 1980.

El Bakkali won silver behind Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto at the London World Championships in 2017 and bronze at the global meet in Doha in 2019 behind Kipruto and Girma.

“I am so used to seeing Kenyans win, it’s a big accomplishment for me. I have been aiming for this for years and this was my opportunity to show that Morocco is capable of winning this prize in front of the Kenyans,” El Bakkali said after the Tokyo win.

“It was not easy for me to be in front of the Kenyans and Ethiopians. I know how hard it is to be first in front of them.

“I have been thinking about being more confident, working on my self-confidence and also trusting that I can win. I have tried so many times to compare myself with the Kenyans and Ethiopians to see whether I could reach this gold, and I did.”

Meet director Barnabas Korir said El Bakkali has always expressed his desire to train and compete in Kenya, a country he admires for its rich distance running tradition.

“We are delighted that El Bakkali has agreed to come and end his successful season in Nairobi at the Kip Keino Classic, and we look forward to a competitive race between him and his Kenyan rivals, now that he is the brand new Olympic steeplechase champion,” Korir said.

“El Bakkali is just the first among a long list of big names that we shall announce for the second edition of the Kip Keino Classic.”

 

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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