Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco (center) on his way to winning the 2023 world men's 3000m steeplechase title

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

BUDAPEST (22-Aug) — The men’s 3000m steeplechase final here at the 2023 World Track and Field Championships in Budapest featured a dream match-up between the defending world champion, Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco, and the world record holder, Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia.

Statical Soufiane El Bakkali Retains World Title

El Bakkali, who is also the reigning Olympic champion, ran a smart race, staying slightly back from the lead and saving his energy.  When Girma went to the lead with 5:45 showing on the clock, El Bakkali stayed close behind waiting for the right moment to strike.

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That moment came about 50 meters before the final water jump when the tall and lanky Moroccan made a powerful surge that Girma could not match.  He romped to victory in 8:03.53, comfortably ahead of Girma (8:05.44). 

It was Girma’s third consecutive silver medal at a World Athletics Championships (he was also the 2021 Olympic silver medalist).

“After winning in Eugene last year, I am really proud that I am bringing home another gold,” El Bakkali told the flash quotes team after his race.  “I had great preparations for these championships, but today’s field was very strong with athletes like Lamecha.  I came ready and prepared and I believed I could win.”

Bronze medal goes to Abraham Kibiwot

Bronze went to Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwot, despite taking a fall at the first barrier of the bell lap.  He quickly got to his feet and was caught by teammate Leonard Bett.  The two ran the final lap together, but Kibiwot just managed to hold off his compatriot in the homestretch, 8:11.98 to 8:12.26, to get the bronze.

“When Leonard Kipkemoi Bett managed to pass through me (after the fall), there was no question I will make it and finish on the podium,” Kibiwot told the flash quotes team.  “These times there are not tiredness.  I feel so great; this is even more than happiness.”

New Zealand’s Geordie Beamish rounded out the top-5, running 8:13.46 in his first global final in the steeplechase (he only started to run the event this year).  The top American was national champion Kenneth Rooks, who finished tenth.

Click here for more men’s 3000m steeplechase results

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