Marrakech Diamond League: El Bakkali Reigns, Sekgodiso Shines with 800 World Lead

Olympic champions Emmanuel Korir and Conseslus Kipruto Struggle

By Joseph Carroll for
May 19, 2024

The 2024 Diamond League meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, had several compelling distance battles as hometown distance star Soufiane El Bakkali won the steeple in 8:09.40, Kenyan Emmanuel Wanyonyi took the 800m in 1:43.84, South Africa’s Prudence Sekgodiso won a close women’s 800m in a world-leading 1:57.26, and Azeddine Habz and Medina Esia notched their first Diamond League wins in the men’s 1500 and women’s 5k.

In the sprints, the highlight was world champion Shericka Jackson making her 2024 200m debut with a win in 22.82.

Full meet recap and analysis below.


Men’s Steeplechase: Soufiane El Bakkali Opens Season in Tight Win, Conseslus Kipruto DFL, Hillary Bor 8:13

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Reigning Olympic and world champion Soufiane El Bakkali won narrowly in 8:09.40 to open his 2024 season. In a race that was paced for the world lead (8:07.25) held by racer Samuel Firewu, the field fell just short. The race was paced about halfway, but the pace lagged when the pacemaker stepped off, with a first kilometer 2:42.62 and a second kilometer 2:48.04, to come through in 5:30.66. The group stayed in a large pack until El Bakkali made a move to pass Getnet Wale with 350 to go. El Bakkali put daylight on the field after the second barrier that the now strung-out group, led by Wale, closed quickly heading into the third barrier. By the last water jump, it was El Bakkali and Wale who had separated themselves and El Bakkali was able to just slightly pull away in the final straight to win 8:09.40 to Wale’s 8:09.78. Firewu finished in fourth in 8:11.73.

American Hillary Bor, who was with the leaders at the bell, finished in sixth in a US-leading 8:13.30. Bor looks primed to make the U.S. team and will be a favorite to win the Trials alongside Kenneth Rooks.

It was a bad day for 2016 Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto, who finished dead last in 8:43.61. Although this was one of El Bakkali’s closest victories in recent memory, there is no need for fans to worry. In both pre- and post-race comments, El Bakkali said that he was dealing with an injury leading up to today but that he and his coach decided to run as he was on home soil. Despite this, he still outkicked one of the world’s top steeplechase runners, Wale, on the final lap. 

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Place Athlete Country Time Notes
1 Soufiane El Bakkali MAR 8:09.40 SB
2 Getnet Wale ETH 8:09.78  
3 Amos Serem KEN 8:10.82 SB
4 Samuel Firewu ETH 8:11.73  
5 Daniel Arce ESP 8:12.28 SB
6 Hillary Bor USA 8:13.30 SB
7 Djilali Bedrani FRA 8:13.73 SB
8 Mohamed Amin Jhinaoui TUN 8:13.86 SB
9 Abraham Kibiwot KEN 8:17.07  
10 Mohamed Tindouft MAR 8:17.22 SB
11 Osama Zoghlami ITA 8:19.54 SB
12 Salaheddine Ben Yazide MAR 8:20.06 SB
13 Ahmed Jaziri TUN 8:20.49 SB
14 Ryuji Miura JPN 8:21.74  
15 Abrham Sime ETH 8:23.74 SB
16 El Mostafa Faid MAR 8:24.51 PB
17 Benjamin Kigen KEN 8:28.69  
18 Conseslus Kipruto KEN 8:43.61 SB
19 Abderrafia Bouassel MAR DNF  
20 Simon Sundström SWE DNF  

Women’s 800: Prudence Sekgodiso Sneaks By on Rail for 1:57.26 World Lead

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In a field that lacked star power, it was 22-year-old South African Prudence Sekgodiso who came away with a surprising world lead of 1:57.26, a PB by .79.

The race was almost derailed halfway through when pacemaker Firezewid Tesfaye decided to simply slide back in the field at 400, as opposed to peeling to the outside, surprising a large portion of the pack that had to maneuver around her before she stepped off to the inside after leading the field through in 57.07. It was Ethiopian Habitam Alemu, the former Ethiopian record holder, who took the pace when Tesfaye was relieved of her duties with Sekgodiso close behind. It looked as if Sekgodiso would be able to take the lead with 200 to go as Alemu left room on her inside, but Sekgodiso was not able to as the pair went through 600 in 1:26.9. Alemu continued to do work on the final turn and drifted out towards lane two coming around the bend. She would continue to drift outwards, leaving room for the patient Sekgodiso who came on strong and was able to slip by on the inside in the final 50 for the win.

Sekgodiso is having a breakthrough year, winning all three of her 800m races this year in under 2:00 each time, plus a win at the South African championships in the 1500. She looks poised to make the Olympic final later this summer and could be a dark horse contender for a medal.

Place Athlete Country Time Notes
1 Prudence Sekgodiso RSA 1:57.26 WLPB
2 Habitam Alemu ETH 1:57.70 SB
3 Noélie Yarigo BEN 1:59.96  
4 Gabriela Gajanová SVK 2:00.30 SB
5 Eloisa Coiro ITA 2:00.35 SB
6 Rachel Pellaud SUI 2:00.95 SB
7 Anita Horvat SLO 2:01.38 SB
8 Assia Raziki MAR 2:01.42 SB
9 Soukaina Hajji MAR 2:03.05 SB
10 Kristie Schoffield USA 2:03.25  
DNF Firezewid Tesfaye ETH    

Men’s 800: Wanyonyi Keeps Winning, Korir DFL

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Diamond League champion and 2023 Worlds silver medallist Emmanuel Wanyonyi emerged victorious over a strong 800 field. Brit Ben Pattison led the competitors a few strides behind the pacer for the first 400m as the pack came through about one second back of the pacer who came through in 49.76. Wanyonyi made a move to the front as he and compatriot Wyclife Kinyamal started to break away from the field 500m in. The chase group, led by Tshepiso Masalela, started to gain ground on the pair going into the final 100, but they were able to hold them off, with Wanyonyi winning in 1:43.84 and Kinyamal second in 1:43.98.

Wanyonyi, still only 19, will be hoping to upgrade his Worlds silver to Olympic gold, and has started 2024 off in fine form, with two 1:43 wins, plus a mile win at the adizero Road to Records meet. Olympic and world champion Emmanuel Korir, whose 2023 season was impacted by a calf injury, opened his season in this race and was DFL. He was out of the race from the start and ran 10 seconds off his PB, running 1:52.14. Korir has not run under 1:46 in the last two seasons. He does not have the Olympic standard or a world ranking and will have to make a massive leap in fitness to compete late into the summer.

Place Athlete Country Time Notes
1 Emmanuel Wanyonyi KEN 1:43.84  
2 Wyclife Kinyamal KEN 1:43.98  
3 Yanis Meziane FRA 1:44.13 SB
4 Tshepiso Masalela BOT 1:44.14  
5 Ben Pattison GBR 1:44.75 SB
6 Adrián Ben ESP 1:45.21 SB
7 Daniel Rowden GBR 1:45.37 SB
8 Abdelati El Guesse MAR 1:45.70  
9 Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir KEN 1:52.14 SB
DNF Ludovic le Meur FRA    

Men’s 1500: Azeddine Habz Wins First Diamond League

2023 worlds finalist Azeddine Habz of France got his first ever Diamond League victory in 3:32.86. In a mediocre field with an aggressive 3:30 requested pace, the field was unwilling to go with the pacemakers, who adjusted on the fly and tried to maintain contact. 800 was hit in 1:54.57, 3 seconds behind the desired 1:51 split. A second pacemaker stayed on to bring a bunched-up field with a lap to go in 2:52.18. Steeple star Lamecha Girma was midway in a large pack led by Habz, who had stayed close to the front of the group throughout the race at the bell. Brit Elliot Giles led the chase of Habz, who started to pull away with 300 to go and never looked back, closing in 54.30 to win by .61 over George Mills, who nipped Giles at the line for 2nd. 

Girma finished fourth, exposing why he has not been able to capture gold in the steeple; an inability to close well against the world’s best. Habz, who was 11th last year in the world final, will next compete in Oslo before heading to the European championships in Rome where he will be in the medal hunt later this season. 

Place Athlete Country Time Notes
1 Azeddine Habz FRA 3:32.86 SB
2 George Mills GBR 3:33.47 SB
3 Elliot Giles GBR 3:33.50 SB
4 Lamecha Girma ETH 3:33.54 SB
5 Adel Mechaal ESP 3:34.22 SB
6 Hafid Rizqy MAR 3:34.52 PB
7 Teddese Lemi ETH 3:34.83 SB
8 Tshepo Tshite RSA 3:35.21  
9 Kuma Girma ETH 3:36.60 PB
10 Elhassane Moujahid MAR 3:37.01 SB
11 Ryan Mphahlele RSA 3:39.34  
12 Abdellatif Sadiki MAR 3:40.38 SB
13 Charles Grethen LUX 3:40.90 SB
14 Vincent Kibet Keter KEN 3:46.75  
DNF Mounir Akbache FRA    
DNF Alexandre Selles FRA    

Women’s 5,000: Medina Eisa Wins First Diamond League 

The chase for a world lead fell short as none of the women were willing to push the pace after pacers stepped off the track.

Teen sensation Medina Eisa, the 2022 World U20 champ and 2023 Worlds 6th placer, and three others were there at the bell, but Eisa held off compatriot Fotyen Tesfay to win by just five hundredths of a second, 14:34.16 to 14:34.21. 

Place Athlete Country Time Notes
1 Medina Eisa ETH 14:34.16  
2 Fotyen Tesfay ETH 14:34.21 PB
3 Edinah Jebitok KEN 14:35.64 PB
4 Melknat Wudu ETH 14:39.79 SB
5 Likina Amebaw ETH 14:44.06 PB
6 Maureen Koster NED 14:50.74 SB
7 Nadia Battocletti ITA 15:02.69 SB
8 Gela Hambese ETH 15:06.24  
9 Esther Chebet UGA 15:09.48 SB
10 Frehiwot Gesese ETH 15:26.22 SB
11 Bontu Edao Rebitu BRN 15:49.07 SB

Women’s 200: Shericka Jackson Wins in Diamond League Season Opener

World champion Shericka Jackson won a hard-fought victory to open her 2024 Diamond League season. Starting in lane 7, Jackson got pulled out by Mujinga Kambundji who was in lane 8 and leading as the entire field rounded the bend bunched together. Jackson had to do a lot of hard work and was only able to put daylight on the field in the last 40 meters. Running 22.82 for the win into a slight headwind (-1.0 m/s) is a less than ideal opener for the Jamaican star. She was able to pick up the win, but over a field that lacked starpower, with Maboundou Koné, a woman who has never made a World Championship or Olympic final, finishing in second in 22.96. Jackson’s time ranks just 47th in the world, not great for someone that wants to be the best 200m runner in the world just a few months from now. 

Place Athlete Country Time Notes
1 Shericka Jackson JAM 22.82 SB
2 Maboundou Koné CIV 22.96  
3 Helene Parisot FRA 23.02 PB
4 Caisja Chandler USA 23.06 SB
5 Mujinga Kambundji SUI 23.14  
6 Ida Karstoft DEN 23.40  
7 Dalia Kaddari ITA 23.48 SB
8 Sara El Hachimi MAR 24.21 SB

Women’s 400 Hurdles: Clayton Wins Battle of the Jamaicans

The Jamaican women were the story in the 400 hurdles as Rushell Clayton got out to a hard start, making up the stagger on the field by the back straight. She held off a hard-charging Shiann Salmon,who closed well in the final 100 but had too much ground to make up as Clayton won in a strong 53.98 to Salmon’s 54.27. Former Olympic bronze medalist Janieve Russell finished in 55.74 for 5th. Clayton and Salmon look to be on the inside track to the Jamaican Olympic team while Russell continues her slow start to her 2024 season.

Place Athlete Country Time Notes
1 Rushell Clayton JAM 53.98  
2 Shiann Salmon JAM 54.27 SB
3 Anna Ryzhykova UKR 55.09 SB
4 Zenéy Geldenhuys RSA 55.28  
5 Janieve Russell JAM 55.74 SB
6 Viivi Lehikoinen FIN 55.81 SB
7 Noura Ennadi MAR 56.15  
8 Jessie Knight GBR 56.71  

400 Men: Alexander Doom Remains Undefeated 

Alexander Doom of Belgium was able to keep momentum from his World Indoor gold medal, taking down a quality Diamond League field to remain undefeated in 2024. Bayapo Ndori of Botswana got out to a hot start and was leading with 100 to go and the entire field within a step of him. Doom came on strong in the final 50 to win in a personal best of 44.51. Doom was not expecting to win in such a strong time in his first race back from injury. Muzala Samukonga finished in second and Ndori faded to third running 44.54 and 44.59, while American Quincy Hall struggled once again finishing sixth in 45.52.

Place Athlete Country Time Notes
1 Alexander Doom BEL 44.51 PB
2 Muzala Samukonga ZAM 44.54 SB
3 Bayapo Ndori BOT 44.59  
4 Lythe Pillay RSA 44.78  
5 Emmanuel Bamidele NGR 44.88 SB
6 Quincy Hall USA 45.52 SB
7 Gilles Biron FRA 45.71  
8 Hamza Dair MAR 46.48  

Men’s 100: Eseme Surprises on the Outside 

In a race that was led out hard by Rohan Watson and Jeremiah Azu in lanes two and three, it was the hard charging Emmanuel Eseme who won out of lane 8. Eseme worked hard the back half of the race that allowed him to win in 10.11 with a slight headwind (-0.8). He took down a field that included 2021 Olympic 200 champion Andre De Grasse, who took second in 10.19, and 34-year-old Yohan Blake who finished in a distant 10.41 to place eighth.  

Place Athlete Country Time Notes
1 Emmanuel Eseme CMR 10.11 SB
2 Andre De Grasse CAN 10.19  
3 Jeremiah Azu GBR 10.25  
4 Brandon Hicklin USA 10.26  
5 Rohan Watson JAM 10.26  
6 Pjai Austin USA 10.29  
7 Jona Efoloko GBR 10.36  
8 Yohan Blake JAM 10.41 SB
9 Machmour Chakir MAR 10.69  

Women’s Shot: Chase Jackson Wins Again

Chase Jackson’s meet record of exactly 20m got her her second Diamond League win in a row after emerging victorious in Doha. Jackson, who was struggling with an injury at indoor worlds and got bronze as a result, got revenge on indoor gold medalist Sarah Mitton who finished third in 19.36m. Jackson said the focus today was on technique and that she wants to save her best for Paris. She will be competing twice more before the U.S. Trials.

Men’s Discus: Mykolas Alekna Beats Loaded Field

In a stacked men’s discus field that featured the world record holder, world and Olympic champion, Diamond League record holder, and a former Diamond League champion, it was world record holder Mykolas Alekna who won with his 70.70m fourth throw, giving him the victory over 2023 Diamond League champion Australian Matthew Denny, whose first throw of 67.74m was good for second.

Best of the Rest

18-year-old Angelina Topić continued to impress, winning her second high jump in as many starts this year with a PB and Serbian record of 1.98m. She looks to compete next in the Balkans and European championships before the Olympic Games, where she will be firmly in the hunt for a medal. Lázaro Martínez won the men’s triple jump in a meet record of 17.10m over Olympic champions Pedro Pichardo in second (16.92m), and American Christian Taylor in seventh with 16.16m. The women’s pole vault was won by first time Diamond League winner Angelica Moser, who jumped a season’s best 4.73m.

*Full Marrakech results 

Talk about the meet on our messageboard: Official 2024 Morocco Diamond League Live Discussion Thread.

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