Finally, Soufiane El Bakkali was not the only one to be injured this Saturday during the 3,000 m steeplechase at the Paris meeting. When the Olympic champion fell violently on the first barrier after a 200m race, the Frenchman Mehdi Belhadj was right behind him. Surprised, he found himself lopsided in the air and twisted his ankle upon receiving his crossing, while trying to avoid the Moroccan.
Far from being on his plate for the rest of the race, while he was aiming for a time under 8’10 after a training course at Font-Romeu during the Olympic Games (he was not qualified despite achieving the minimums but 4th place in France), the French international finally finished eleventh in 8’34”29, far from his 8’12”43 from Monaco (2nd French performance of the season).
Logical since, following his release at the Charléty stadium, Philippe Dupont’s protégé at Insep had an MRI which revealed a tear in the external lateral ligament of the right ankle. An injury which should keep Belhadj at least three weeks away from the slopes.