Athlete Profile

Mohammad Al-Azemi

  • COUNTRY Kuwait Kuwait
  • DATE OF BIRTH 16 JUN 1982
Mohammad Al-Azemi in the Beijing Olympic 800m heats (Getty Images)
Mohammad Al-Azemi in the Beijing Olympic 800m heats (Getty Images)
  • COUNTRY Kuwait Kuwait
  • DATE OF BIRTH 16 JUN 1982


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Updated 5 November 2007

Mohammad Mutlak AL AZEMI, Kuwait (800m)

Born 16 June 1982, Al Kuwait; Married with 2 children
Club Al Kadissia ; Manager : Federico Rosa

Mohammad Al Azemi is a pure product of Kuwait athletics. Thanks to seriousness and dedication, he managed to overcome all the difficulties facing his preparation in a country that had been devastated by war.

Al Azemi started athletics in 1993. Dominating all his school mates during the physical education courses at Abdelmohssen Al Babteene school, he was rapidly spotted by athletics coach Abdellah Hnitem Al Azemi, who had him join the Al Kadissia club that he has never left. That same year, Al Azemi won the national cross-country championships in the under-14 ranks, which marked the beginning of the story.

Making his first outing abroad in 1995, at an international event organised by the Finnish federation, Al Azemi placed third in the 800m  (2:26). The Kuwait federation judged that the youngster needed appropriate support and directed him to the care of another coach, Hamza Al Khiat, assisted by Nejm Mutlak, a former Kuwait champion.

Results were not long in coming. In 1998, still a youth, Al Azemi took part in the Arab Junior Championships, in Damascus, Syria, placing third ahead of supposedly better athletes from Algeria, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. The following year he achieved the standard for the first World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and to the surprise of most, snatched the 800m bronze medal (1:51.24).

Three months later, the youth athlete flew to Singapore, to take part to the Asian Junior Championships. Thanks to the guidance of Al Khiat, he clinched the silver medal and established a Kuwait record of 1:49.53. He has since become a national hero and its flag bearer in international competitions.

In April 2000, Kuwait organised the Gulf Championships. With just a month and a half of serious training Al Azemi earned his country the 800m gold medal (1:53.46). But, in 2000, the year of his high school diploma, under the pressure from his parents and aiming to succeed in his exams, he had to give priority to his studies.

Shortly after the exams in September, Al Azemi kept a close eye on the Sydney Olympics and was fascinated by the victories of Germany’s Nils Schumann, in the men’s 800m, and Algeria’s Nouria Benida, in the women’s 1500m. With little preparation, he nevertheless managed to run 1:50.99, a season’s best, for 2nd place at the Pan Arab Junior Championships, in Damascus, in November. The sabbatical had quite affected him, though, and he needed several months to get back into the right tempo thanks to the support of his new coach, former Kuwait champion Khaled Khalifa.
In 2001, Al Azemi got close to his 1999 level, clocking 1:49.55 at the Doha meet, before clinching a bronze medal at the Asian Junior Championships, in Brunei, in July (1:52.46).

In 2002, he had health problems and did not train much. From time to time he has respiratory problems because of the dust in Kuwait. Bouts sometimes force him out of training. That is why, in the last two years, which marked a steep progression, he trained abroad the whole season.

In 2003, the federation decided to recruit a foreign specialist for middle-distance running and chose Algeria’s Abdelkarim Bensaid, then a coach for the Saudi middle-distance team. The pairing rapidly bore fruit. During winter, Al Azemi set the indoor Kuwait record at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham (1:50.41) and, in August, in Budapest, he lowered his national outdoor record to 1:47.44, moving closer to the world’s elite.

In 2004, following several months of preparation in Ifrane with Bensaid, he brilliantly snatched his selection for the Athens Olympic Games with an A standard of 1:45.25, achieved on 24 June in the Algiers international meet. His participation in Athens did not command much attention (7th in his heat, 1:47.67), but it proved a great learning experience.

In 2005, repeated injuries forced Al Azemi to take several breaks but he still managed to reach the semi-finals at the World Championships, in Helsinki, and to clock 1:46.67 at the Asian Championships, in Incheon, South Korea.  In December he went through another change of coach as he decided to join the group of Somali-born Briton, Jama Aden Karain. From Oman to Morocco, he went to a number of training camps and made a strong season debut in Doha on 12 May 2006 (victory in a national record 1:44.80) beginning an impressive series as he lowered the national record twice more (1:44.59, Oslo, 2 June;  1:44.13, Athens,  3 July). It meant that he had lowered the national record three times in five races. The year ended with a flourish as he clinched the silver medal at the Asian Games, in Doha, on 11 December (1:46.25)

In 2007, Al Azemi again recorded a strong season’s debut, winning the Golden League meet in Oslo in 1:44.56. At the World Championships, in Osaka, he reached the semi-final in 1:45.85, but finished 8th in a poor 1:50.28.

Al Azemi’s success has turned him into a role model for Kuwait’s youth and motivated about 100 of them to join one of the 13 athletics clubs in this small country.

Yearly Progression
1999: 1:49.53; 2000: 1:50.99; 2001: 1:49.55; 2003: 1:47.44; 2004: 1:45.25; 2005: 1:46.67; 2006: 1:44.13; 2007: 1:44.55

Personal Bests
800m: 1:44.13 (2007)
1500m: 3:42.75 (2006)
Career Highlights
1998 3rd Pan Arab Junior Championships (1:53.1)
1999  3rd World Youth Championships (1:51.24)
1999 2nd Asian Junior Championships (1:49.53)
2000 1st Gulf Championships (1:53.46)
2000 2nd Pan Arab Junior Championships (1:50.99)
2001 3rd  Asian Junior Championships (1:52.46)
2005 4th Islamic Solidarity Games (1:47.95)
2005 5th Asian Championships (1:46.67)
2005 sf World Championships (1:48.02)
2005 3rd Asian Indoor Games (1:52.40)
2006 2nd Asian Games (1:46.25)
2007 1st Asian Indoor Games (1:49.62)

Prepared by Tahar Righi for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright 2007 IAAF

Personal Best - Outdoor
Performance Wind Place Date
800 Metres 1:44.13 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 03 JUL 2006
1000 Metres 2:15.84 Rabat 05 JUN 2011
1500 Metres 3:37.95 Dakar 12 JUN 2013
3000 Metres 8:45.10 Al-Kuwait 17 MAR 1999
Personal Best - Indoor
Performance Wind Place Date
800 Metres 1:47.37 Hangzhou 19 FEB 2012
Progression - Outdoor showShow All Graphs
800 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2012 1:47.13 Sollentuna 05 JUL
2011 1:45.35 Hengelo 29 MAY
2009 1:46.91 Damascus 09 OCT
2008 1:45.79 Casablanca 22 JUN
2007 1:44.55 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 02 JUL
2006 1:44.13 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 03 JUL
2005 1:46.67 Incheon 04 SEP
2004 1:45.25 Alger 24 JUN
2003 1:47.44 Budapest 08 AUG
2001 1:49.55 Doha 18 MAY
2000 1:50.99 Damascus 04 NOV
1999 1:49.53 Singapore 01 OCT
1000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2011 2:15.84 Rabat 05 JUN
1500 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2013 3:37.95 Dakar 12 JUN
2007 3:51.39 Al-Kuwait 04 MAR
2006 3:42.75 Al-Kuwait 01 MAY
3000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
1999 8:45.10 Al-Kuwait 17 MAR
Progression - Indoor showShow All Graphs
800 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2014 1:48.04 Stockholm (Globe Arena) 06 FEB
2012 1:47.37 Hangzhou 19 FEB
2009 1:48.93 Hanoi 02 NOV
2004 1:51.80 Budapest (Sport Arena) 05 MAR
2003 1:50.41 Birmingham (NIA), GBR 14 MAR
Honours - 800 Metres
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXX Olympic Games h1 DQ London (OP) 06 AUG 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics sf3 DNF Daegu 28 AUG 2011
13th IAAF World Indoor Championships 4h4 1:52.54 Doha (Aspire Dome) 12 MAR 2010
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6h6 1:51.73 Berlin 20 AUG 2009
The XXIX Olympic Games 8sf1 1:47.65 Beijing (National Stadium) 21 AUG 2008
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 8sf3 1:50.28 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 31 AUG 2007
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6sf1 1:48.02 Helsinki 12 AUG 2005
28th Olympic Games 7h4 1:47.67 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 25 AUG 2004
10th IAAF World Indoor Championships 5h4 1:51.80 Budapest (Sport Arena) 05 MAR 2004
9th IAAF World Indoor Championships 3h3 1:50.41 Birmingham (NIA), GBR 14 MAR 2003
1st IAAF World Youth Championships 3 1:51.24 Bydgoszcz 18 JUL 1999


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Updated 5 November 2007

Mohammad Mutlak AL AZEMI, Kuwait (800m)

Born 16 June 1982, Al Kuwait; Married with 2 children
Club Al Kadissia ; Manager : Federico Rosa

Mohammad Al Azemi is a pure product of Kuwait athletics. Thanks to seriousness and dedication, he managed to overcome all the difficulties facing his preparation in a country that had been devastated by war.

Al Azemi started athletics in 1993. Dominating all his school mates during the physical education courses at Abdelmohssen Al Babteene school, he was rapidly spotted by athletics coach Abdellah Hnitem Al Azemi, who had him join the Al Kadissia club that he has never left. That same year, Al Azemi won the national cross-country championships in the under-14 ranks, which marked the beginning of the story.

Making his first outing abroad in 1995, at an international event organised by the Finnish federation, Al Azemi placed third in the 800m  (2:26). The Kuwait federation judged that the youngster needed appropriate support and directed him to the care of another coach, Hamza Al Khiat, assisted by Nejm Mutlak, a former Kuwait champion.

Results were not long in coming. In 1998, still a youth, Al Azemi took part in the Arab Junior Championships, in Damascus, Syria, placing third ahead of supposedly better athletes from Algeria, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. The following year he achieved the standard for the first World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and to the surprise of most, snatched the 800m bronze medal (1:51.24).

Three months later, the youth athlete flew to Singapore, to take part to the Asian Junior Championships. Thanks to the guidance of Al Khiat, he clinched the silver medal and established a Kuwait record of 1:49.53. He has since become a national hero and its flag bearer in international competitions.

In April 2000, Kuwait organised the Gulf Championships. With just a month and a half of serious training Al Azemi earned his country the 800m gold medal (1:53.46). But, in 2000, the year of his high school diploma, under the pressure from his parents and aiming to succeed in his exams, he had to give priority to his studies.

Shortly after the exams in September, Al Azemi kept a close eye on the Sydney Olympics and was fascinated by the victories of Germany’s Nils Schumann, in the men’s 800m, and Algeria’s Nouria Benida, in the women’s 1500m. With little preparation, he nevertheless managed to run 1:50.99, a season’s best, for 2nd place at the Pan Arab Junior Championships, in Damascus, in November. The sabbatical had quite affected him, though, and he needed several months to get back into the right tempo thanks to the support of his new coach, former Kuwait champion Khaled Khalifa.
In 2001, Al Azemi got close to his 1999 level, clocking 1:49.55 at the Doha meet, before clinching a bronze medal at the Asian Junior Championships, in Brunei, in July (1:52.46).

In 2002, he had health problems and did not train much. From time to time he has respiratory problems because of the dust in Kuwait. Bouts sometimes force him out of training. That is why, in the last two years, which marked a steep progression, he trained abroad the whole season.

In 2003, the federation decided to recruit a foreign specialist for middle-distance running and chose Algeria’s Abdelkarim Bensaid, then a coach for the Saudi middle-distance team. The pairing rapidly bore fruit. During winter, Al Azemi set the indoor Kuwait record at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham (1:50.41) and, in August, in Budapest, he lowered his national outdoor record to 1:47.44, moving closer to the world’s elite.

In 2004, following several months of preparation in Ifrane with Bensaid, he brilliantly snatched his selection for the Athens Olympic Games with an A standard of 1:45.25, achieved on 24 June in the Algiers international meet. His participation in Athens did not command much attention (7th in his heat, 1:47.67), but it proved a great learning experience.

In 2005, repeated injuries forced Al Azemi to take several breaks but he still managed to reach the semi-finals at the World Championships, in Helsinki, and to clock 1:46.67 at the Asian Championships, in Incheon, South Korea.  In December he went through another change of coach as he decided to join the group of Somali-born Briton, Jama Aden Karain. From Oman to Morocco, he went to a number of training camps and made a strong season debut in Doha on 12 May 2006 (victory in a national record 1:44.80) beginning an impressive series as he lowered the national record twice more (1:44.59, Oslo, 2 June;  1:44.13, Athens,  3 July). It meant that he had lowered the national record three times in five races. The year ended with a flourish as he clinched the silver medal at the Asian Games, in Doha, on 11 December (1:46.25)

In 2007, Al Azemi again recorded a strong season’s debut, winning the Golden League meet in Oslo in 1:44.56. At the World Championships, in Osaka, he reached the semi-final in 1:45.85, but finished 8th in a poor 1:50.28.

Al Azemi’s success has turned him into a role model for Kuwait’s youth and motivated about 100 of them to join one of the 13 athletics clubs in this small country.

Yearly Progression
1999: 1:49.53; 2000: 1:50.99; 2001: 1:49.55; 2003: 1:47.44; 2004: 1:45.25; 2005: 1:46.67; 2006: 1:44.13; 2007: 1:44.55

Personal Bests
800m: 1:44.13 (2007)
1500m: 3:42.75 (2006)
Career Highlights
1998 3rd Pan Arab Junior Championships (1:53.1)
1999  3rd World Youth Championships (1:51.24)
1999 2nd Asian Junior Championships (1:49.53)
2000 1st Gulf Championships (1:53.46)
2000 2nd Pan Arab Junior Championships (1:50.99)
2001 3rd  Asian Junior Championships (1:52.46)
2005 4th Islamic Solidarity Games (1:47.95)
2005 5th Asian Championships (1:46.67)
2005 sf World Championships (1:48.02)
2005 3rd Asian Indoor Games (1:52.40)
2006 2nd Asian Games (1:46.25)
2007 1st Asian Indoor Games (1:49.62)

Prepared by Tahar Righi for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright 2007 IAAF