Updated 26 February 2008
Siham HILALI, Morocco (1500m/ 3000m)
Born 2 May 1986, Khouribga
Coach: Azzedine Zaz
The rising star of Moroccan athletics, Siham Hilali is considered rightly as a young hopeful in her country’s leading sport. In 2003, at 17, she became the first Moroccan to win a World Youth title, clinching the 3000m (9:12.70) in Sherbrooke, Canada. Two years earlier, she had been spotted during school games by Azzedine Zaz, who became her coach and husband.
The diminutive athlete used to run for the HSMK club in her native city of Khouribga before joining the Institut National d'Athletisme in Rabat. Her baptism of fire came in 2002 when she was ranked first at the Maghreb School Games and 3rd at the World School Cross Country Championships in the Czech Republic.
In 2003, she broke Morocco’s 1500m youth record with 4:15.01 and, in the same year as she was crowned World Youth champion, she clinched the 1500m bronze medal at the African Junior Championships in Garoua, Cameroon, while she was still in the youth ranks.
At the 2004 World Junior Championships, in Grosseto, Italy, Hilali claimed two bronze medals, in the 1500m and 3000m. She was ranked 3rd best sportswoman in Morocco by the Moroccan media behind 800m Olympic silver medallist Hasna Benhassi and cycling champion Attika Sabib.
Hilali’s promising career was suddenly interrupted in February 2005 when she sustained a fracture to her right leg just 10 metres from the finish of the 6km race in the Moroccan Cross Country Championships, at Souissi racecourse, in Rabat.
After two years away from competition, the young athlete made her return at the 2007 Arab Championships in Amman, Jordan. She won the 1500m gold medal and took the silver in the 800m. But she didn’t have much success at the World Championships, in Osaka, failing to advance in the 1500m heats.
800m: 2:06.17 (2004)
1500m: 4:04.03 (2007) / 4:10.91i (2007)
3000m: 9:03.16 (2004) / 9:00.78i (2005)
1500/3000: 2002: - / 9:42.22; 2003: 4:15.1 / 9:12.70; 2004: 4:08.15 / 9:03.16; 2005: 4:18.05i / 9:00.78i; 2006: 4:25.82 / - ; 2007: 4:04.03 / -
2002 3rd World School Cross Country Championships
2003 1st World Youth Championships 3000m (9:12.70)
2003 3rd African Junior Championships 1500m (4:19.47)
2004 12th World Cross Country Championships, junior race
2004 3rd World Junior Championships 1500m (4:17.39)
2004 3rd World Junior Championships 3000m (9:03.16)
2007 2nd Arab Championships 800m (2:06.9)
2007 1st Arab Championships 1500m (4:18.71)
Prepared by Mohamed Benchrif for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008.