Tuesday, August 16, 2022

I am the ‘king of steeplechase’: Bakkali

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali believes he is the “king of steeplechase” after adding the world title to his Olympic Games gold.
The 26-year-old put on a tactical masterclass over the 3,000m course in Eugene to end Kenya’s 15-year reign in the discipline at the World Athletics Championships, BBC report stated.
In a repeat performance of his Olympic success in Tokyo last year, he stayed near the back of the leading pack for much of the race before making the decisive move in the last 200m to claim gold in a time of eight minutes 25.13 seconds.
“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,” El Bakkali told BBC Sport Africa.
Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma had to settle for silver once again, having finished second in Tokyo and in Doha three years ago, while Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto, the 2019 champion, ended with bronze.
Kenyan runners had won men’s steeplechase gold in every edition of the World Championships since Brimin Kipruto’s success in Osaka in 2007 and El Bakkali said his finishing speed had been the key to victory in Oregon.
“The course was very tactical, slow. We had very good runners like defending champion Kipruto,” said El Bakkali, who beamed as he waved the Moroccan flag over his head.
“I positioned well in the last lap. I am very strong in the 400m 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 nor bronze. Instead I managed to come first in two world league meetings and now the World Championship.”

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