The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) announced this week that Moroccan runner and Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali was selected as Africa’s best male athlete for the year 2022.
The Moroccan runner beat Kenya’s long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge and middle-distance runner Emmanuel Korir to the title.
El Bakkali achieved remarkable victories this year that gained him well-deserved international recognition.
In May, the Moroccan Olympic champion clinched a gold medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the first phase of the 2022 Doha Wanda Diamond League.
El Bakkali notably made history last July when he was crowned world champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the World Athletics Championships, which took place in Eugene, the United States.
He then claimed his first Diamond Trophy at the Diamond League final in Zurich, Switzerland in September. Three days later, El Bakkali won the 2,000-meter steeplechase at the Hanzekovic Memorial in Zagreb, Croatia.
In November, the Moroccan runner was among the five athletes shortlisted for the title of Male Athlete of the Year, World Athletics announced.
In August 2021, El Bakkali put an end to Kenya’s dominance over the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase after he won the gold medal at Tokyo 2020’s Olympic Games.
The Moroccan runner became the first non-Kenyan to win the title since Poland’s Bronislaw Malinowski did so at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
Meanwhile, CAA announced that Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan was named the best female athlete in Africa for the year 2022, ahead of Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon and Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey.