Last year, at 39, Hicham El Guerrouj left the IOC, after eight years as member of the Athletes’ Commission. However, the double Olympic champion from Morocco (1500 and 5000 min 2004) still keeps an eye on the Olympic Movement. FrancsJeuxcaught up with him in Qatar, on the sidelines of the 2nd edition of Doha Goals.
Can Africa organise the winter Olympic Games one day?
Hicham El Guerrouj: I hope so. The entire continent is replete withsport enthusiasts. In Morocco for instance, sport is a day to day conversational topic. The winter games cannot afford to shun this part of the world for ever. Of course, the facilities are not yet sufficient. And the major sports partners are not in Africa. But the continent’s strength lies in Africans. One billion people! In Morocco, close to one-third of the population is made up of youths aged less than 15. To be able to organise the Games, Africa must harness and project this population power. The continent should also learn to better brand itself. We are not Americans. We do not know how to tell sweet stories. But we ought to learn.
You spent eight years (2004 to 2012) as IOC member. What do you make of that experience? Hicham El Guerrouj: It has deepened my conviction that the IOC is truly concerned with athletes and their future. Much is being done to help them in the transition from active sports to life thereafter. The IOC does not use athletes only to promote Games while they are active. It also lends them assistance once the curtains are drawn on their sporting careers. I did not know this, but I came to understand it during my eight-year stint at the IOC.
What is your role today in sport development in Africa?
Hicham El Guerrouj: After retiring, I decided to give back to athletics what it had so graciously granted me. In Berkane, my native town, I trained by racing down the streets of my neighbourhood with my pals. My enthusiasm stemmed from there. Today, I organise races for young people in Berkaneand other towns in Morocco. I am involved at the base.
Source : www.francsjeux.com
The city of Marrakesh, Morocco, on 3 and 4 October 2015 played host to the maiden African Athletes’ Forum, which brought together 39 sportsmen and women and was graced by and several other sports dignitaries of the continent. Prominent amongst them were Mustapha Berraf, President of NOC Algeria and 1st Vice President of ANOCA, who… Read More »