Soufiane El Bakkali ended Kenya’s dominance of the men’s 3000 steeplechase by claiming Morocco’s first Olympic gold medal in any sport since 2004.
Kenyans have set the standard in this event in recent times, winning gold in each of the previous nine Games.
But El Bakkali put an end to that streak, claiming victory ahead of Ethiopian Lamecha Girma while Benjamin Kigen collected a bronze for Kenya.
The last Moroccan to win the sport was Hicham El Guerrouj, who 17 years ago won the men’s 1500 and 5000m in Athens.
“I’m so used to seeing Kenyans win, it’s a big achievement for me,” El Bakkali said.
“I have been aiming for this for years and this was my opportunity to show that Morocco is capable of winning this award in front of the Kenyans.
“I have tried so many times to compare myself with Kenyans and Ethiopians to see if I could achieve this gold, and I did.”
HASSAN TRUCK OFFER ON THE TRACK
Sifan Hassan aims to become the first athlete to win a triple of 1500, 5000 and 10,000 meters in a single Olympics.
The Ethiopian-born Dutchman, who recovered from a crash to overcome his 1500m heat earlier in the day, got off to a flying start with a win in the 5000m on Monday.
“After I crashed, it cost me a lot of energy, I came home and I wanted to sleep,” said Hassan, who won the Netherlands’ first Olympic gold in athletics since 1992.
“A lot of people think I’m crazy. I also think I’m crazy. A lot of people think it’s crazy and I won’t even get a medal.
“Life is not about gold, the winner; it’s also about following your heart. “
Not your typical Monday for @SifanHassan:
– Olympics (@Olympics) 2 August 2021
CANADA END TEAM USE HOODOO TO REACH THE FINAL
Canada resoundingly finished a 36-game winless run against the United States, Jessie Fleming’s penalty secured a spot in the women’s football final.
Canadians haven’t beaten Team USA, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, since March 11, 2001.
However, their luck changed with Fleming’s 74th-minute penalty that established the semi-final after the VAR ruled that Tierna Davidson had fouled Deanne Rose.
Canada’s reward is a gold medal showdown with Sweden, who beat Australia 1-0 thanks to Fridolina Rolfo’s second-half goal.
On a brighter note for the US away from football, it has been announced that Simone Biles will take part in the final of the balance beam on Tuesday.
LOPEZ. FOUR MEDIUM
Mijain Lopez became the first male Greco-Roman wrestler to win four Olympic gold medals after defeating Georgian Iakobi Kajaia in the 130kg final.
His success saw him receive a congratulatory phone call from Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, while he did not rule out continuing until Paris 2024.
“I feel happy, proud to be the best in the world and to make history,” Lopez said.
“I’ve had a long career, I’ve worked hard to achieve these goals and break this record.
“I’ve worked so hard to get to this point. Being able to break this record today is a great achievement for me, because I have faced the best and I can be proud of it ”.
Mijain Nunez Lopez of #CUB wins his fourth Olympic gold, a first for any male wrestling athlete!
– Olympics (@Olympics) 2 August 2021
DEJA VU IN FEMALE HOCKEY
After participating in the 2016 final in Rio, Great Britain and the Netherlands will face each other again at the Games, this time in a greedy semi-final clash.
Team GB needed a shootout to defeat Spain after the 2-2 draw, with Hannah Martin and Sarah Jones scoring their efforts as goalkeeper Maddie Hinch produced heroic feats to seal a 2-0 win. .
Martin said: “It is a huge time for us to get to those medals. We are just over the moon.
“Maddie was absolutely brilliant in there. We knew he had it and the feeling was one of absolute euphoria. I couldn’t get there fast enough. “
As for the Netherlands, they enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win over New Zealand.