Amina Ait Hammou (HAmoo) Morocco (800 metres)
Born 18 July 1978, Kenitra (40 km north of Rabat), Morocco
Amina Ait Hammou, who burst into world prominence in 800m last year with the #3 performance of 2003 and a 4th place in the Paris World Championships, became an athlete almost by accident.
She was a soccer and handball star for her local club, the KAC, in her home town of Kenitra. “In fact, it was my younger sister, Soltana, who had been an athlete for two years already, who pushed me to try athletics.”
Early in 1999, three months after starting to train with her sister, Amina took part in a local track meeting in Meknes, where she ran the 800m in 2:10 and a 1500m in 4:32. As she was a student, she was eligible for World University Games in Majorca, Spain, where she progressed to an amazing 2:03.76 with virtually no training or experience. This showed that she could go much further, but she felt she had to choose between her university studies and a career in athletics, as she believed it would be impossible to do both well. She chose track, and soon her talent enabled her to approach the highest levels.
Amina, whose idols are the great 400m hurdles runners Nawal El Moutawakel and Nezha Bidouane, was recruited by the prestigious FUS club in Rabat, and she was later admitted to the city’s Institut National d’Athlétisme. There she trains with her sister Soltana, amongst others, under the guidance of Hasna Benhassi’s former coach, Driss Ouajjou.
Yearly progression: 1999 – 2:03.76; 2000 – 2:03.16; 2001 – 2:00.47; 2002 – 2:01.03; 2003 – 1:57.82 (Rome GL); 2004 – 1:58.92 (Zurich).
Record in Major Championships:
Heats (2:03.76), World University Games, Majorca, Spain, 1999
Heats (2:03.25), Olympics Games, Sydney, 2000
4th (2:01.75), Jeux de la Francophonie, Ottawa, 2001
4th, Mediterranean Games, Tunis, 2001
3rd (2:03.94), African Championships, in Tunis, in 2002
Semi-final (2:04.16), World Indoor Championships, Birmingham, 2003
4th (2:01.09), World Championships, Paris, 2003
3rd (1:59.97), World Athletics Final, Monaco, 2003
Semi-final (2:06.17), World Indoor Championships, Budapest, 2004
Semi-final (2:00.66), Olympic Games, Athens, 2004
Prepared by Mohammed Bencherif for the IAAF "Focus on Africans" project. © 2004 IAAF.