Athletics is one of the most popular sports in Morocco, specifically middle and long distance running.
Many Moroccan runners have won medals at the Summer Olympics since 1960. However only few are considered as legends in track and field not only in Morocco but worldwide.
Here are the top 5 most legendary Moroccan Athletes of all time. This list of famous Moroccan Athletes are sorted by popularity and achievements.
1. Saïd Aouita
Saïd Aouita is undoubtedly the most famous Moroccan Athlete. Saïd Aouita (born November 2, 1959) is the only athlete in history to have won two medals in both 800 m and 5000 m at the Olympic games. He won the 5000 meters at the 1984 Summer Olympics and the 1987 World Championships in Athletics, as well as the 3000 m at the 1989 IAAF World Indoor Championships. He is a former world record holder over 1500 m (3:29.46), 2000 m (4:50.80), 3000 m (7:29.45), and twice at 5000 m (13:00.40 and 12:58.39).
Hicham El Guerrouj was born 14 September 1974. El Guerrouj is the current world record holder of the outdoor 1500 m, mile, and 2000 m events. He also held indoor world records for the mile and 1500 m until 2019, and is the only man since Paavo Nurmi to earn a gold medal in both the 1500 m and 5000 m at the same Olympic Games.
Hichamis considered the greatest middle-distance runner in history and is also viewed by some as one of the greatest athletes of all time. El Guerrouj has also won the world championship in the 1500 m six times: four consecutive times outdoors in 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2003 and twice indoors in 1995 and 1997 and has won the World Athlete of the Year awards three times.
3. Nawal El Moutawakel (1962)
Nawal El Moutawakel is the 2nd most famous Moroccan Athlete. She was born on 15 April 1962. She won the inaugural women’s 400 m hurdles event at the 1984 Summer Olympics, and was the first Moroccan to become an Olympic medalist (gold). In 2007, El Moutawakel was named the Minister of Sports in the upcoming cabinet of Morocco. She is also a member of the Olympic committee.
4. Rhadi Ben Abdesselam
Rhadi Ben Abdesselam (28 February 1929 – 4 October 2000) was a Moroccan long-distance runner. He competed at the 1960 Olympics in the marathon and 10,000 meters events. He also ran in the International Cross Country Championships in 1958–1963. In 1960 Olympics, Ben Abdesselam finished a second in a time of 2:15:41.6, just 25.4 seconds behind Abebe’s new world record.
5. Nezha Bidouane
Nezha Bidouane (born on 18 September 1969 in Rabat) specialized in the 400 m hurdles. A two-time World champion, she won the 400 m hurdles gold medal at the 1997 World Championships in Athens and the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. In 1999, she won the silver medal at the World Championships in an African record time of 52.90 seconds. In 2000, she won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games.