Updated 15 December, 2011
Baya RAHOULI, Algeria (Triple Jump)
Born 27 July 1979, Bab El Oued, Algiers
Coaches: Hocine Mohamed
A multiple world and Olympic finalist in the triple jump, Baya Rahouli is making her way back to the top after 5 years in the shadow due to a string of injuries and a maternity break.
Baya Rahouli was born in a large family and all her brothers and sisters were involved in sports, athletics in particular. Her brother Hamimed, who now lives in the United States, was an African record holder in the 50km walk (4:19:15 in 1987) and her sister Hamida clinched several national junior titles in the javelin and combined events.
Baya joined the local club in the popular neighbourhood of Bal El Oued in Algiers and started to take a liking to the various athletics disciplines under the guidance of Dalila Tayebi (African record holder in the heptathlon from 1981 to 1983 and the first Algerian woman over 6m in the long jump). In her first competitions she made such a huge impact winning every event she took part in and taking the edge over much older athletes that she soon attracted the attention of some leading coaches.
The young Algerian made her international debut in 1993 at the ISF Athletics Cup Jean Humbert, the World Schools’ championship in Italy. Her coach Dalila Tayebi then moved to France and Russian Arena Benmansour took charge of her for a year before she joined the experienced Mustapha Ait Amar, who was the coach of the elite jumping team. The latter introduced her to the triple jump. In 1994, she won the African Junior Championships - held at home in Algiers - in the triple jump (12.02m) and finished 2nd in the long jump (5.41m), aged only 15. She claimed another African junior title the next year in Bouake, Ivory Coast (13.09m) and went to her first World Junior Championships in 1996 in Sydney where she finished 10th with a jump of 12.97m. In 1996, the young athlete also dominated the Pan Arab junior championships in Latakia, Syria, with 4 gold in the 100m (12.25), the long jump (5.82m), the triple (13.48m) and the 4x100m as well as a bronze in the shot put (11.12m) . Following these promising results, she was given a grant by the government to prepare the forthcoming international events and decided to quit school.
The country’s hopes were not disappointed. At the 1997 Pan Arab Games in Beirut, the 18 year old collected four individual titles in the 100m (11.98), 100m hurdles (14.11), long jump (6.09m) and triple jump (13.51w). She also won two titles in the 100m hurdles (13.87) and the triple (13.39m) and a silver medal in the long jump (6.12m) at the African Junior Championships in Ibadan.
All the preparation by then focused on one major goal: the 1998 World Junior Championships in Annecy, France. Before the championships, she and her coach spent two months in Sacramento, California. In Annecy, the all-round athlete failed to advance to the long jump final, but she qualified brilliantly for the hurdles and triple jump finals with the leading performances in both events (a new national record of 13.50 in the 100H and an African record of 13.90m in the triple). Four false or faulty starts probably affected Rahouli who finished last in the hurdles, more than 5 tenths of seconds slower than the day before, but she bounced back in the triple, recording the only jump above 14.04m for a new African record and the first ever world junior title for an Algerian athlete. After that, she took part to the African championships in the senior category in Dakar where she won the triple (13.96m) and finished 3rd in the long jump (6.36m) and earned her selection in the African team for the World Cup in Johannesburg where she finished 6th (13.69A).
In 1999 Rahouli, kept improving both in the long jump and the triple, becoming regular above 6.50m and 14m. She jumped 14.19m in Padova on June 26, before taking the 4th place at the World University Games with 14.22m in July and 14.30m in the qualifying rounds of the Sevilla World Championships where she eventually placed 10th (14.00m in the final). She then achieved a huge jump (14.64m) in altitude at the All-African Games in Johannesburg but had to settle for 2nd place behind another rising star, Françoise Mbango of Cameroon. In the long jump, the Algerian brought her national record to 6.70m on 5 September in Rieti.
In 2000, the Algerian did her winter preparation in Australia, taking part to local meets where she recorded season’s bests of 6.43m in the long jump and 14.30m in the triple. She dominated Mbango to defend her continental title at home (14.23m). She then finished a good 5th at the Olympic Games in Sydney (14.17m) but quite a distance from the podium as it took 14.96m to claim bronze.
After Sydney, the Algerian champion almost quit athletics after falling out with her coach Ait Amar. She then joined Mohamed Zerrouki, the coach of Olympic high jump bronze medallist Abderahmane Hammad, but the following two years were disappointing. Hampered by a slipped disc, she wasn’t able to go beyond 13.70m and had to withdraw from the Edmonton World Championships. She regained some strength at the end of the season, winning the Mediterranean Games with a wind assisted 14.30m, but had to undergo surgery in October. 2002 was another underpar season with only two outings above 14m and only a bronze medal at the African championships in Tunis (13.78m). While her rivals Françoise Mbango of Cameroon and Kene Ndoye from Senegal were improving steadily, Rahouli was stagnating.
In 2003, she finally left Zerrouki and joined her current coach Hocine Mohamed, who was her teammate in Ait Amar’s group. Mohamed was quick to find her deficiencies and work with her on a specific training program. After a winter training camp in South Africa, she was back on track in no time, setting a national indoor record of 14.31m for a 7th place at the World Championships in Birmingham. During the outdoor season, she had 7 outings over 14.30m, with a season’s best of 14.48m in Berlin in August. She placed 11th at the Paris World Championships (14.26m) and collected 2 gold and a bronze medals at the Pan Arab Championships (1st in the triple with 14.02m, 1st in the long jump with 6.18m and 3rd in the 100m with 11.69w).
In 2004, Rahouli tied her indoor national record of 14.31m in the qualifying rounds of the World Indoor Championships before settling for 10th place in final. In the summer, she kept improving setting a new national record in Zaragoza in June (14.67m) and peaked at the right time during the Olympic Games in Athens. She landed at 14.89m during the qualifying round and was again very close to that distance in final (14.86m), but it was only enough for 6th while her country’s expectations weighed heavily on her shoulders. She bounced back in October to be the star of the Pan Arab Games in front of her home crowd, collecting again no fewer than 4 individual gold medals (TJ: 14.49m; LJ: 6.19m; 100m: 11.84; 100H: 13.49).
2005 started again very well with a legal 14.72 jump in Athens and 2 windy performances of 14.66 in Huelva and 14.83 in Algiers in June. At the Mediterranean Games in Almeria, she decided to withdraw from the long jump to keep all her strengths for the triple and it paid off with a new national record of 14.98m, the second best performance in the world ahead of the World Championships in Helsinki. Unfortunately, she suffered from food poisoning in Oslo just one week before the championships and had to spend four days at hospital. As a result she couldn’t do better than 14.40m in Helsinki where she finished 7th and her results kept deteriorating in her further outings.
In 2006, Rahouli and her coach did a training camp in South Africa to prepare for the World Championships. She eventually pulled out from the event due to lack of competition after failing to secure a Schengen visa that would have allowed her to take part to the regular European indoor season. From 30 April, she left to Brazil for a month of preparation and competition but injured herself during the Fortaleza meet on 17 May (4th with 13.72m). She wasn’t able to take part to the Belem meet three days later and shortened her stay to see a French sports medicine specialist in Paris. She still hoped to be able to recover in time for the African championships in August, in Mauritius, to earn her ticket for the World Cup, but had to quit the competition in pain (finishing 5th with 13.47m).
In the next months she underwent two ankle surgeries in Finland and didn’t compete at all in 2007, missing the All-Africa Games organised in Algiers. She made her return to competition in July 2008, jumping 14.13m in Castres mid-July. She took part to the Beijing Olympics with the right thigh strapped, but failed to advance, finishing 22nd of the qualifiers (14.22m).
She then took a break to have a baby and didn’t compete in 2009. She returned slowly to competitions in the middle of 2010, winning the Algerian Championships with 13.46m and missing out a podium by only 1cm, two weeks later at the African Championships in Nairobi. After working hard during the winter, she surprised on her return by winning the IAAF Rabat meet with a 14.34m jump on 5 June, her best results since 2005.
A dozen days later however, she lost her father and her preparation was affected by the mourning. She came to the Paris Golden League to try to boost her morale and honour his memory. “He wanted me to jump far. I tried, but it didn’t work”, as she couldn’t go further than 13.97m. She then improved her season’s best to 14.39m in Castres on 19 July and to 14.49m at the Algerian Championships on 27 July, before pulling out from the Stockholm DN Galan on the 29th as a precautionary measure due to slight injury. Heading to Daegu as the 15th best performer in the world, the Algerian jumper was looking toward the final as the next step, She achieved her goal, placing 8th in Korea - her fourth top level final between the Olympic Games (2000 and 2004) and World Championships (2005 and 2011).
Two weeks later, Rahouli won the All Africa Games title in Maputo, and at the end of October took the Arab Championships gold in Al-Ain (UAE).
At the Arab Games in Doha, she is entered in her favourite triple jump, but also in the 100m.
1994: 12.02; 1995: 13.09; 1996: 13.48; 1997: 13.39/13.51w; 1998: 14.04; 1999: 14.64A; 2000: 14.30/14.42w; 2001: 13.88/14.30w; 2002: 14.02/14.08w; 2003: 14.48; 2004: 14.89; 2005: 14.98; 2006: 13.72; 2008: 14.13; 2010: 13.64A; 2011: 14.49
Triple jump: 14.98 (2005)
Long jump: 6.70 (1999)
100m: 11.51 (1999)
100H: 13.49 (2004)
1994 1st African Junior Championships (12.02)
1995 1st African Junior Championships (13.09)
1996 10th World Junior Championships (12.97)
1996 1st Pan Arab Junior Championships (13.48)
1997 6th Mediterranean Games (13.25)
1997 1st Pan Arab Games (13.51w)
1997 1st African Junior Championships (13.39)
1998 1st World Junior Championships (14.04)
1998 1st African Championships (13.96)
1998 6th World Cup (13.69A)
1999 10th World Championships (14.00)
1999 4th World University Games (14.22)
1999 2nd All-Africa Games (14.64A)
2000 1st African Championships (14.23)
2000 5th Olympic Games (14.17)
2001 1st Mediterranean Games (14.30)
2002 3rd African Championships (13.78)
2003 7th World Indoor Championships (14.31)
2003 11th World Championships (14.26)
2003 1st Pan Arab Championships (14.02)
2004 10th World Indoor Championships (14.19)
2004 6th Olympic Games (14.86)
2004 1st Pan Arab Games (14.49)
2005 1st Mediterranean Games (14.98)
2005 7th World Championships (14.40)
2006 5th African Championships (13.40)
2008 22q Olympic Games (13.87)
2010 4th African Championships (13.64A)
2011 4th World Championships (14.12) (13.40 in Q)
2011 1st All Africa Games (14.08)
2011 1st Arab Championships (13.59)
Prepared by Carole Fuchs and Tahar Righi for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2006-2011.