Tokyo preview – Men’s 3000m Steeplechase

Not since 1980 has anyone but a Kenyan won the men’s 3000m Steeplechase at the Olympics. 2021 looks like it might finally be the year, will the dominance continue or will it be nine and out for Kenya’s steeplers? Here’s our men’s 3000m steeplechase preview for Tokyo.


Friday 30 July 01:00 UK Time (Heats) Monday 2 August 13.15pm (Final)

2021 Top Times

2021 RankingTimeAthleteCountry
18.07.75Lamecha GirmaEthiopia
28.07.81Abraham KibiwotKenya
38.08.54Soufiane El BakkaliMorocco
48.09.37Bikila Tadese TakeleEthiopia
58.09.47Getnet WaleEthiopia
68.11.17Djilali BedraniFrance
78.11.65Mohamed TindouftMorocco
88.12.04Ahmed AbdelwahedItaly
98.12.11Abrham Sime Ethiopia
108.12.35Chala BeyoEthiopia

British interest

The British duo of Phil Norman and Zak Seddon will both hope to make the final. For Norman this is his first major champs and for Seddon his first Olympics having competed in the World Champs in both London and Doha, both of which he went out in the heats.

The favourites

In the absence of defending Olympic and World Champ Conselus Kipruto, Ethiopian Lamecha Girma is the favourite, having finished second to the Kenyan in Doha 2019. He won impressively in Monaco but only after officials rang the bell a lap early to blow the race apart.

One man not in that race was Soufiane El Bakkali who won comfortably in Florence but has kept his appearances to a minimum. Olympic 4th placer in 2016, World silver and bronze in 2017 and 2019 this year seems to be his best shot and he has displayed impressive speed over 1500m running 3.31.95 in the Doha Diamond League.

Bikila Tadese Takele will turn 19 the day after the final and has impressed this season. He won the Ethiopian trials, no mean feat, and was second behind El Bakkali in Florence. He is one to watch.

A curve ball I am going to throw into the mix is Benjamin Kigen, the man who went a lap early in Monaco. He displayed a devastating finishing kick that day, albeit 400m too early and may yet provide some Kenyan resistance. Abraham Kibiwott is the fastest of the Kenyans this year and was a close second to Girma in Monaco. Leonard Bett won the Kenyan trials but was beaten by Hillary Bor in Gateshead, who himself was well beaten into fifth in Monaco.

Don’t be surprised to see a surprise name finding their way onto the podium in Tokyo.

Our medal predictions

  1. Soufiane El Bakkali
  2. Bikila Tadese Takele
  3. Lamecha Girma


WR: 7.53.63 – Saif Saaeed Shaheen (2004)

OR: 8.03.28 – Conselus Kipruto (Rio 2016)

Featured image “File:Sgt. Hillary Bor runs 3,000-meter steeplechase at Rio Olympic Games photos by Tim Hipps, U.S. Army IMCOM Public Affairs (28945469872).jpg” by U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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