|3000 Metres Race Walk||11:26.34||Cork||02 JUL 2011|
|5000 Metres Race Walk||18:45.05||Paris (Jean Bouin)||17 JUN 2007|
|10,000 Metres Race Walk||38:24.31||Tunis||30 MAY 1998|
|10 Kilometres Race Walk||39:19||Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France)||23 AUG 2003|
|20,000 Metres Race Walk||1:22:51.84||Leutkirch||08 SEP 1994|
|20 Kilometres Race Walk||1:19:02||Eisenhüttenstadt||10 MAY 1997|
|30,000 Metres Race Walk||2:19:21.4||Reims||12 MAR 2011|
|50 Kilometres Race Walk||3:58:44||Santa Eulària des Riu||04 MAR 2007|
|5000 Metres Race Walk||20:05.95||Aubière||19 FEB 2011|
|2007||18:45.05||Paris (Jean Bouin)||17 JUN|
|2005||39:43||La Coruña||04 JUN|
|2003||39:19||Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France)||23 AUG|
|2015||1:30:15||La Coruña||06 JUN|
|2014||1:32:37||La Coruña||31 MAY|
|2013||1:24:06||La Coruña||01 JUN|
|2011||1:28:47||St. Renan||17 APR|
|2006||1:19:36||La Coruña||13 MAY|
|2005||1:20:19||Helsinki (Olympic Stadium)||06 AUG|
|2004||1:20:38||La Coruña||05 JUN|
|2003||1:21:12||Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France)||23 AUG|
|1996||1:25:52||Atlanta (Olympic Stadium), GA||26 JUL|
|1993||1:33:24||Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion)||15 AUG|
|2008||4:03:47||Beijing (National Stadium)||22 AUG|
|2007||3:58:44||Santa Eulària des Riu||04 MAR|
|9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||10||39:19||Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France)||23 AUG 2003|
|14th IAAF World Championships||27||1:25:41||Moskva (Luzhniki)||11 AUG 2013|
|The XXIX Olympic Games||27||1:23:44||Beijing (National Stadium)||16 AUG 2008|
|23rd IAAF World Race Walking Cup||11||1:19:54||Cheboksary||10 MAY 2008|
|11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||3||1:22:40||Osaka (Nagai Stadium)||26 AUG 2007|
|22nd IAAF World Race Walking Cup||4||1:19:36||La Coruña||13 MAY 2006|
|10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||5||1:20:19||Helsinki (Olympic Stadium)||06 AUG 2005|
|28th Olympic Games||11||1:22:59||Athína (Olympic Stadium)||20 AUG 2004|
|21st IAAF World Race Walking Cup||41||1:24:56||Naumburg||02 MAY 2004|
|9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||14||1:21:12||Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France)||23 AUG 2003|
|20th IAAF World Race Walking Cup||9||1:23:49||Torino||12 OCT 2002|
|8th IAAF World Championships||10||1:23:14||Edmonton (Commonwealth Stadium)||04 AUG 2001|
|27th Olympic Games||36||1:28:16||Sydney (Olympic Stadium)||22 SEP 2000|
|7th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||16||1:28:36||Sevilla (La Cartuja)||21 AUG 1999|
|19th IAAF World Race Walking Cup||15||1:23:46||Mézidon-Canon||01 MAY 1999|
|6th IAAF World Championships In Athletics||9||1:23:49||Athína (Olympic Stadium)||02 AUG 1997|
|XXVI Olympic Games||33||1:25:52||Atlanta (Olympic Stadium), GA||26 JUL 1996|
|5th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||30||1:32:17||Göteborg (Ullevi Stadium)||06 AUG 1995|
|4th IAAF World Championships in Athletics||32||1:33:24||Stuttgart (Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion)||15 AUG 1993|
|The XXIX Olympic Games||33||4:03:47||Beijing (National Stadium)||22 AUG 2008|
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 7 August 2008
Hatem GHOULA, Tunisia (20km Walk, 50km Walk)
Born 7 June 1973, 1.80m / 67kg
Club : Zitouna Sports
Hatem Ghoula, multiple African champion and record holder in the walks, came to athletics by chance. Had he stayed in France, he would have never made such a career in sports. The son of a migrant, he moved back to Gabès in Southern Tunisia, with his parents and younger sister, aged 15.
Ghoula’s uncle, Hedi Najeh, an athletics coach in the city, took him one day to the stadium. There, one could start either with the sprints, like in any club in the south, where the best Tunisian sprinters hail from, or with the walks. In regard to his build-up, he was first asked to try the hurdles, but after failing to improve, he was advised by his uncle to switch to the walks.
Race Walking had been rather a neglected event in Tunisia until then, with very few athletes, three clubs where it was taught, and only one event organised each year, the national championships.
Ghoula’s debut was to radically transform the event in the country, but it did not come in one day as, besides his results, the federation’s technical directors were not easily convinced about his technical perfection. In 1989, Ghoula won Tunisia’s youth title in the10.000m, clocking 57:32.6, and the following year he broke the 8000m national youth record with 44:50.00.
In 1991, he took the national junior title in the 10.000m (49:00.6) and ranked third in the senior men’s 20.000m finishing in 1:46:47.6 in his first attempt over the distance. But it brought no change to his situation. His uncle suggested he move to Sousse’s better structured club, Etoile Sportive du Sahel (Sahel Sporting Star), which boasted a few good walkers and a coach renowned for his technical skills: Hassen Hamzi. It was the turning point of his career.
In 1992, he broke the 10.000m African junior record in Tunis in 42:06.0 and, during his first training camp abroad, the senior record in 39:26. He thus earned his selection for the 1993 World Championships, in Stuttgart, where he was ranked 32nd for his first 20Km in 1:33:24, a Tunisian record.
In 1994, Ghoula benefited from a special training programme to adjust to the 20km. He clocked 1:28:57 in France and broke the 20.000m African record in Germany in 1:22:51.84. The following year, he set a new African record in the 20km, clocking 1:20:37 and clinched his first Arab title, in Cairo, under national coach Erhard Labidi. But he could do no better than 30th at the 1995 World Championships in Göteborg (1:32:17).
In 1996, Hatem claimed his first African gold in Yaoundé (Cameroon) with a time of 1:29:48, but finished 32nd at the Atlanta Olympics. The following year he changed coach and went to work with Mohamed Alouini, a former 800m runner. Under his guidance, he had his best season that far, winning the Barcelona meet, breaking the African record in Eisenhüttenstadt (1:19:02, still his best mark), claiming the gold medal at the Francophone Games, in Antananarivo, the bronze at the Mediterranean Games, in Bari, and just missing a finalist place at the World Championships in Athens, where he finished 9th in 1:23:49.
Following his African record in the 10.000m (38:24.31), and his African title in Dakar in 1998, Hatem started the 1999 season with lots of ambition. However, he had to settle for 16th at the World Race Walking Cup in Mézidon (France) and 15th at the World Championships, in Sevilla. In between he clinched gold at the Pan Arab Games, in Jordan, and at the African Race Walking Championships, in Algeria.
In 2000, Hatem came back to former coach Erahrd Labidi to better prepare for the Olympics. After his African title in July in Algiers, he didn’t arrive in top shape in Sydney where he placed 36th in 1:28:16.
In 2001, he benefited from better training conditions in the lead up to the Mediterranean Games to be held in Tunisia. He ranked 10th at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton (1:23:14) and took gold both at the Francophone Games in Ottawa-Hull and at the Mediterranean Games in Radès.
The same stadium in Radès hosted the 2002 African Championships where Hatem added a new title to his tally. He then placed 9th at the World Cup in Turin (1:23:49) and broke the African record at his first attempt over 50km (3:59:56). In 2003, he finished 14th at the World Championships, in Paris, and claimed gold at the All Africa Games, in Abuja.
In 2004, for his third participation at the Olympics he achieved his best placing, 11th (1:22:59) but finished 41st of the World Cup in Naumburg in 1:24:56. But he added another gold from the Pan-Arab Games in Algiers.
Gaining in experience and maturity, Ghoula got closer to podiums in world events. He finished 5th at the 2005 World Championships, in Helsinki (1:20:19), and 4th at the World Race Walking Cup last year in La Coruña (1:19:36).
In 2007, after bettering his own African record over 50km, clocking 3:58:44 in Spain in March and winning gold at the All Africa Games, in Algiers, Ghoula was determined to go for the major medal that was still missing from his rich tally at the World Championships in Osaka.
In Osaka, Ghoula joined Jefferson Pérez in the lead at the 15 km mark, as Francisco Javier Fernandez seemed to wilt behind them. Pérez then pulled away in front, and the Tunisian seemed on his way to a historic silver. Ghoula however slowed the pace in the final part of the race in the Osaka stadium, afraid he may be disqualified and started waiving to the crowd, unaware that the Spaniard was closing the gap behind him. In the very last metres, “Paquillo” managed to surge and snatch the silver, pushing Ghoula back to bronze with a dramatic finish that first saw the Spaniard disqualified than reinstated into second place.
Hatem Ghoula however remained upbeat after the initial disappointment. “I've been quite consistent in the last few years, 5th in Helsinki, 4th at last year's World Cup. I'm so happy to get a medal for my 8th participation in the World Championships, besides it is the first Tunisian medal in the history of the competition.”
The Osaka performance helped the All Africa Champion secure 5th place in the overall IAAF Race Walking Challenge.
That medal was also very important back in Tunisia, where Ghoula received a warm welcome, earning him great popularity as he had offered the first Olympic medal to Tunisian sports. After that, Hatem was chosen by national press the as best sportsman in Tunisia in 2007.
This gratitude came at the right time as it encouraged him to do his best in order to win the only medal that he longed for: 33rd in Atlanta, 36th in Sydney and 11th in Athens, Hatem is looking for his opportunity to come.
In 2008, Ghoula placed 2nd in Santa Eularia des Riu (Spain) on 15 March (1:23:42) and 7th at the Olympic Test Event in Beijing on 18 April (1:21:58). At the World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary, he was 11th (1:19.42) and later placed 2nd (1:21. 52) in the traditional Cantones de La Coruña event on 7 June.
In Beijing, Ghoula will participate in both the 20 km and 50 km so as to have the maximum chances to achieve his goal. He as raced sparingly this year but concocted a rich programme composed of many training periods in South Africa, France, China and South Korea. Based in the far eastern country since the beginning of July to finish his training, Ghoula feels he is ready to win his challenge in Beijing.
20k Walk: 1993 – 1:33:24; 1995 – 1:20.37; 1996 – 1:21:45; 1997 – 1:19.02 ; 1998 – 1:23:19; 1999 – 1:19:46; 2000 – 1:25:38; 2001 – 1:21:41; 2002 – 1:23:49; 2003 – 1:21:12; 2004 – 1:20:38; 2005 - 1:20:19; 2006 – 1:19:36; 2007 – 1:20:40; 2008 – 1:19:54
5000m: 18.05.49 01-05-97 Tunis Tunisian record
10.000m: 38.24.31 30-05-98 Tunis African record
20.000m: 1h.22.51.84 08-09-94 Leutkirch African record
10 km: 38.12 28-05-2000 Sesto S.Giovanni African record
20 km: 1h.19.02 10-05-97 Eisenhüttenstadt African record
50 km: 3h.58.44. 24-03-07 Santa Eularia des Riu African record
2008 11th World Race Walking Cup
2007 3rd World Championships
2007 1st All Africa Games
2006 2nd African Championships
2006 4th World Race Walking Cup
2005 5th World Championships
2005 1st African Race Walking Championships
2004 11th Olympic Games
2004 41st World Race Walking Cup
2004 1st Pan Arab Games
2003 14th World Championships
2003 1st All Africa Games
2002 9th World Race Walking Cup
2002 1st African Championships
2001 10th World Championships
2001 1st Francophone Games
2001 1st Mediterranean Games
2000 36th Olympic Games
2000 1st African Championships
1999 16th World Championships
1999 1st Pan Arab Games
1999 1st African Race Walking Championships
1999 15th World Race Walking Cup
1998 1st African Championships
1997 1st Francophone Games
1997 9th World Championships
1997 1st Mediterranean Games
1996 33rd Olympic Games
1996 1st African Championships
1995 30th World Championships
1995 1st Arab Championships
1993 32nd World Championships
Prepared by Taoufik Gacem for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2007-2008.