Ezzine heads Moroccan team roster for Dublin
Mohammed Bencherif for the IAAF
19 March 2002 – Rabat, Morocco – Four teams will represent Morocco at the IAAF/Sport Ireland World Cross Country Championships on 23-24 March in Dublin: Senior men and women long cross, men short course and junior men. The delegation will be headed by Ali Ezzine, 3000 metre steeplechase silver medallist in Edmonton 2001.
There will not be a junior women’s team but Morocco will be represented by Meryen Alaoui Selsouli, the scholastic cross country world champion and the Moroccan junior cross country champion.
In the previous edition of the World Championships, Morocco was represented by three teams in Ostend: senior men and women short course and junior men.
The Moroccan men’s short course team, headed by Brahim Boulami won the silver medal last year whilst the women and the junior men both finished in fifth place in their respective competitions.
For this 30th edition of the World Championships, Ali Ezzine, who is coming back after a 20 day layoff following an injury to his right foot, heads the Moroccan selection for the short cross, which includes Khalid El Amari, champion of Morocco for the 2002 season, Aziz Driouch, vice-champion, Mohamed Said El Wardi, Mohamed Amyn and Youssef Baba. The latter three finished, respectively, 12th, 16th and 22nd in Ostend.
The Moroccan team has not missed a place on the podium since the short course event was introduced to the programme in 1998, in Marrakech. The team has to its credit three silver medals (1998, 1999 and 2001) and a bronze in 2000.
For the long course men, the team comprises the veteran Larbi Khattabi, Said Berrioui – 6th at 10,000 metres in Sydney 200 – Jaouad Gharib, champion over the same distance at the 14th Mediterranean Games in Tunis, Redouane Hakim – champion of Morocco for the same distance and Hamid El Mouaziz, the younger brother of marathon runner Abdelkader El Mouaziz.
In the past, the Moroccan long course team has won two silver medals (1996-1997) and a bronze (1998). There have been a number of individual successes, most notably Khalid Skah, who won two golds (1990 and 1991) and Salah Hissou, vice-champion in 1996 and 1997. In the Nations Cross, two Moroccans reached the highest step on the podium at Hamilton Park in 1960 and at rabat in 1966, namely Abdeslam Radi and GhaziZaaroui, who currently works with the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation.
There will not be a Moroccan women’s short cross team in Dublin. Morocco won the inaugural team title in Marrakech in 1998 and took bronze in Belfast and Vilamoura. Zahra Ouaziz won silver in Marrakech and Vilamoura, but is currently preparing for the summer track season at Ifrane.
The new women’s long course team, introduced by the new technical director Akka Samasam will contest Dublin.
This team will be headed by Asmae Laghzaoui, 10,000 metre champion at the 14th Mediterranean Games and 7th in the final at the last World Championships in Edmonton, Bochra Chaabi, the Moroccan champion and her vice-champion, Wafae Frekech. Zhor El Kamch, triple world champion in the military short cross country competition, who was originally on the list will be defending her military title in Turkey on 20 March.
Atef Ajebli, the winner of the French cross country championships in Gujan Mestras in the junior category, who came 18th in Ostend will head the junior men’s team, alongside Brahim Taleb, 5th in the 2000 metre steeplechase at the World Youth Championships in Debrecen and reigning youth champion of Morocco.
The Moroccan junior men’s team has in its medal roll one silver, in 1974, and six bronzes won between 1993 and 1998.
The Moroocan selection:
Short Cross : Ali Ezzine, Khalid El Amri, Said El Wardi, Mohamed Amyn, Youssef Baba, Aziz Driouch
Long Cross : Abderrahim Goumri, Jawad Gharib, Redouane Hakim, Hamid El Mouaziz, Said Berrioui, Larbi Khattabi
Long Cross: Asmae Laghzaoui, Zhor El Kamch, Meryem Karouani, Bouchra Chaâbi, Saloua Ouaziz, Wafae Frekech
Junior Men: Atef Ajebli, Houcine Ladhame, Mohamed Fadil, Driss Bensaid, Brahim Taleb, Yassine Bensghir
Junior Women: Meryem Alaoui Selsouli.