For the first time in 17 years, the Moroccan national anthem was played at the Olympic Games on Tuesday morning in Tokyo, following Soufiane El Bakkali’s victory in the 3,000m steeplechase final on Monday.
Former Olympic champion and current member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Nawal El Moutawakel, presented the medal to El Bakkali. On her Facebook account, the gold medallist in the first women’s 400m hurdles in the history of the Olympic Games recalled this “moment of complicity” between two Olympic champions.
“A great moment of complicity with Soufiane – an outstanding champion! Our discussion revolved around his moments of uncertainty, fear, stalking, anxiety, waiting… which he was able to overcome with his iron mind, his rage to win, his determination and his perseverance. He is a fighter, a real warrior. Yesterday, he gave everything to achieve his supreme dream and that of an entire nation….. I was happy to present him with the medal on behalf of the International Olympic Committee and to see him join the great family of Olympic champions! Congratulations Soufiane for making us dream and giving us hope after so many years! Dima Morocco,” she wrote.