Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad going for European record in Brussels

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Controversial French steeplechaser Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad is targeting a European record when he runs at the final Diamond League meet of the year in Brussels on Friday.

Mekhissi-Benabbad, who was disqualified for taking his vest off on the home straight after winning the 3000m race's final at the European Championships, is aiming to become the first man from the continent to go below eight minutes.

The 29-year-old atoned for his error of judgement in Zurich by winning gold in the 1500m, but still wants to join an elite list at the top of steeplechasing history.

Tough challenge ahead

It won't be easy for the athlete, though, as only 10 men have ever broken the eight-minute barrier, with eight of those Kenyan.

The track in Brussels should benefit Mekhissi-Benabbad, however, as two of the sub-8 minute runs have been run in the Belgian capital.

Moroccan Brahim Boulami was the first to do so, clocking 7:55.28 in 2001, before Qatar's Saif Saeed Shaheen ran 7:53.63 in 2004.

10-year record unbeaten

The former Kenyan athlete Shaheen's run that day broke the world record, and has yet to be beaten, 10 years on.

If Mekhissi-Benabbad is to run below eight minutes, he will probably get close to doing just that.

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