Morocco's Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Soufiane El Bakkali earned a huge win in Rabat tonight ©Getty Images

Soufiane El Bakkali, Morocco’s Olympic 3,000 metres steeplechase champion, earned a huge home victory here to electrify an arena which had shortly earlier witnessed Norway’s Olympic 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm pull up injured after the first hurdle of his 2022 debut race.

El Bakkali, whose Tokyo 2020 gold was Morocco’s only medal of the Games, tracked Ethiopia's Olympic silver medallist Lamecha Girma all the way before pouncing on the back straight of the final lap and finishing in a meeting record and 2022 world best of 7min 58.28sec, with Girma clocking 7:59.24.

The local hero was then mobbed by youngsters who swarmed onto the track after what was the last race of the fourth Wanda Diamond League of the season at a meeting last held in 2019.

The race also saw an apparently revived and recuperated Rio 2016 champion Conseslus Kipruto take fourth place in 8:12.47, with India’s Avinash Mukund Sable fifth in a national record of 8:12.48. A momentous race.

For Warholm, the Olympics’ victor ludorum, the night ended swiftly and unexpectedly.

On the eve of the meeting the Norwegian had commented: "There’s always a lot of nerves when it comes to the season starter because you know you have been putting in a lot of training but you don’t know what to expect." True enough.

At the start of a sequence he was hoping would take him smoothly on to a third world title and, perhaps, an even faster time than his monumental world record of 45.94sec, the amiable 26-year-old was suddenly faced with the downside of this sporting life.

"It’s probably a cramp in my hamstring - my leg seized up," Warholm told World Athletics. 

"It’s not fun to stop like this. 

"It’s not something I expected, I felt very, very good. 

"So we will just have to see what is happening."

As the world and Olympic champion was convening despondently on the first bend with his long-time coach Leif Olav Alnes, the departed field arrived at the line, with Khallifah Rosser crossing first in a meeting record of 48.25sec from Estonia’s Rasmus Magi, who clocked 48.73.

Having set a Diamond League and Slovenian men’s discus record of 71.27m at the Birmingham Diamond League, 22-year-old Kristjan Ceh repeated the trick with a massive effort of 69.42m.

That took over the lead from Sweden’s Olympic and world champion Daniel Stahl, who had managed 67.16m in the previous round. 

And after Ceh improved still further to 69.68m as he took the first go in the Final Three contest, Stahl could only muster 62.53m.

Jamaica’s double Olympic 100 and 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who had maintained on the eve of competition that she was "not in the best shape" nevertheless delivered a smooth performance that brought her victory in a meeting record of 10.83sec.

The women’s 3,000 metres produced sustained competition as Mercy Cherono and Britain’s European indoor champion Amy-Eloise Markovc battled all the way down the finishing straight before the Kenyan edged home in 8min 40.29sec, 0.03sec clear.

Greece’s Olympic long jump gold medallist Miltiadis Tentoglou made good on his vow to "defend the long jump pride" by beating decathlete Simon Ehammer of Switzerland, who cleared 8.45m at last weekend’s Gotzis multi-event competition to go top of this season’s world list.

While Tentoglou, who added another gold to his collection in March at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, carried the day with his fourth-round effort of 8.27m the Swiss, second on 8.13m, still rides high.

Britain’s Jake Wightman ran a perfectly judged race to win the men’s 1500 metres in 3min 32.62sec ahead of his compatriot, fellow Tokyo 2020 finalist and namesake Jake Heyward, who clocked 3:33.54.

Kenya’s 17-year-old Emmanuel Wanyonyi, last year’s world under-20 800 metres champion, followed up his victory in Ostrava on Wednesday with another assured display that belied his age, maintaining himself within striking distance of the lead throughout and finishing strongest in 1min 45.47sec.

His compatriots Emmanuel Korir and Ferguson Rotich, respective Tokyo 2020 gold and silver medallists, finished eighth and tenth respectively on 1:46.93 and 1:47.72.

Ethiopia dominated the women’s 1500m as Hirut Meshesha won in a personal best of 3min 57.30sec, with the 21-year-old Freweyni Hailu, who ran 3:56.28 in the women’s 1500m at Monaco last year, second in 3:58.18 and Amuxmawit Embaye third in 3:58.80.

Sandi Morris, set on following successive world pole vault silvers with gold in the home setting of Eugene, Oregon this summer, maintained her winning form with a confident display that contrasted awkwardly with the form of the Tokyo 2020 champion with whom she now trains, fellow American Katie Nageotte.

The latter failed to clear at her opening height of 5.30m. 

Morris, who switched coaches this year and now works with the former vaulter who guided Nageotte to gold in 2021, Brad Walker, did not enter the competition until 4.55m, clearing at the second attempt, and a first-time clearance at 4.65m confirmed victory.

Ukraine’s Olympic bronze medallist and world silver medal-winning high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh, who has already earned world indoor gold this year, maintained her winning momentum with a first-time clearance of 1.96m before skipping up to take three unsuccessful attempts at 2.01m. 

Like her two compatriots Iryna Gerashchenko and Yuliya Levchenko, the 20-year-old was sporting a badge pinned to her vest in support of Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion.

Gerashchenko cleared 1.93m and took second place on countback ahead of Australia’s Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Nicola Olsylagers - formerly McDermott - and Kazakhstan’s Nadezhda Dubovitskaya.