2. Soufiane El Bakkali

Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali is our second best African Male Athlete in 2022 by virtue of his exploits in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase, an event where he has been so consistent that he’s won a medal at every global competition since 2017 when he won Silver at the London World Championships and then Bronze in Doha two years later. His personal Best (PB) of 7:58.15 set in 2018 makes him the 10th fastest ever in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

At the Tokyo Olympics, El Bakkali was the man to beat as he proved too strong for his contenders, striking GOLD in 8:08.90 to banish the pain of finishing 4th at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, becoming the first non-Kenyan to win the title since Poland’s Bronislaw Malinowski did so at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

The 2019 African Games Bronze medallist began the 2022 season as the overwhelming favourite in the event. He started and ended the season unbeaten.

His first competition of the year was at Doha where he won with 8:09.66, then stormed to what would remain his fastest time of the season, 7:58.28, to dominate the Diamond League on his home turf, the Meeting International Mohammed VI d’Athletisme in Rabat.

Photo Credit: AP/Martin Meissner

El Bakkali extended his dominance to the World Championships in Oregon, winning his heat before snatching a highly anticipated GOLD medal in 8:25.13 ahead of Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma and defending champion Conseslus Kipruto who both finished ahead of him in Doha. With his victory in Oregon, the Moroccan has won every colour of medal at the worlds.

Taking his exploits a step further, El Bakkali clinched his first ever Diamond trophy in Zurich and three days later, won the 2000m steeplechase at the Hanzekovic Memorial in Zagreb, Croatia.

His incredible performance in 2022 earned him a nomination for World Male Athlete of the Year where he was a finalist. The Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) named him Africa’s Best Male Athlete for the Year 2022 ahead of Eliud Kipchoge and Emmanuel Korir.

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Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.

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