Moroccan long distance runner takes gold 

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Soufiane El Bakkali won gold in the 3000 metres steeplechase at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest on August 22. 

The Moroccan, who won gold at the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, outran Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia to snatch the gold medal, winning with a time of 8:03:53 seconds, according to Reuters, August 23. 

The modern steeplechase event originates from a 3.2 km cross-country race that formed part of the University of Oxford sports in 1860. 

El Bakkali was the current title holder, also winning the gold medal in the 2022 championships in Eugene, the second largest city in the American state of Oregon. 

The athletics star, flying the flag for Morocco said, “I came ready and prepared and believed I could win. This medal gives me additional motivation for the Olympic Games in Paris. I want to win there too,” 

The games in the French capital city are due to begin on July 26 of next year as the city is currently preparing to host the world. The country’s largest stadium, Stade de France, commonly the host venue for the France national team’s football and rugby matches, is currently being modernised for the Olympics.  

Silver medalist in Hungary, Girma stated, “I am satisfied with every single race against El Bakkali. I still aim to win gold at the World Championships or Olympic Games. Nothing has changed in my goals.” 

The Ethiopian won the Paris Diamond League steeplechase race in June 2023 with a record time of 7:52:11, as well as being a silver medalist in the 2020 Olympic Games. 

He added, “Maybe I became even more motivated for next year. In any case, I continue fighting and dreaming about world gold.” 

All eyes will now be on Paris in 2024, as El Bakkali will be determined to retain his Olympic gold medal in what was a great night for North African sport in Hungary’s capital city. 

REUTERS


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