Hatem GHOULA

Athlete Profile

  • COUNTRY
    Tunisia Tunisia
  • DATE OF BIRTH
    07 JUN 1973
    ATHLETE'S IAAF CODE
    9056
Race walker Hatem Ghoula of Tunisia (Getty Images)

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
3000 Metres Race Walk 11:26.34 Cork (IRL) 02 JUL 2011
5000 Metres Race Walk 18:05.49 Tunis (TUN) 01 MAY 1997 WBP, ABP
10,000 Metres Race Walk 38:24.31 Tunis (TUN) 30 MAY 1998 ABP
10 Kilometres Race Walk 38:12 Sesto San Giovanni (ITA) 28 MAY 2000 ABP
20,000 Metres Race Walk 1:22:51.84 Leutkirch (GER) 08 SEP 1994 AR
20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:19:02 Eisenhüttenstadt (GER) 10 MAY 1997 AR
30,000 Metres Race Walk 2:19:21.31 Reims (FRA) 12 MAR 2011 AR
50 Kilometres Race Walk 3:58:44 Santa Eulària des Riu (ESP) 04 MAR 2007

Legend

* Not legal.

Indoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
5000 Metres Race Walk 20:05.95 Aubiére (FRA) 19 FEB 2011

Legend

* Not legal.

Latest Active Season: 2017

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:25:54 Tunis (TUN) 23 APR 2017

Outdoor

3000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2011 11:26.34 Cork (IRL) 02 JUL 2011

Outdoor

5000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2016 22:23.50 Dijon (FRA) 22 MAY 2016
2014 20:12.67 Elancourt (FRA) 04 MAY 2014
2013 19:59.92 Franconville (FRA) 28 APR 2013
2012 19:48.38 Antony (FRA) 20 MAY 2012
2011 19:47.77 Argentan (FRA) 05 JUN 2011
2009 19:27.56 Montreuil-sous-Bois (FRA) 11 JUN 2009
1997 18:05.49 Tunis (TUN) 01 MAY 1997

Outdoor

10,000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2003 39:30.14 Tunis (TUN) 12 APR 2003
1998 38:24.31 Tunis (TUN) 30 MAY 1998
1995 39:01.35 Tunis (TUN) 01 MAY 1995

Outdoor

10 Kilometres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2010 43:30 Granollers (ESP) 13 FEB 2010
2009 39:23 Kraków (POL) 30 MAY 2009
2007 41:27 Granollers (ESP) 02 DEC 2007
2006 41:13 Kraków (POL) 17 SEP 2006
2000 38:12 Sesto San Giovanni (ITA) 28 MAY 2000

Outdoor

20,000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
1994 1:22:51.84 Leutkirch (GER) 08 SEP 1994

Outdoor

20 Kilometres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2017 1:25:54 Tunis (TUN) 23 APR 2017
2016 1:24:54 La Coruna (ESP) 28 MAY 2016
2015 1:30:15 La Coruna (ESP) 06 JUN 2015
2014 1:32:37 La Coruna (ESP) 31 MAY 2014
2013 1:24:06 La Coruna (ESP) 01 JUN 2013
2012 1:23:58 Os (NOR) 08 JUL 2012
2011 1:27:00 Montreuil-sous-Bois (FRA) 03 APR 2011
2009 1:26:12 Wuxi (CHN) 18 APR 2009
2008 1:19:54 Cheboksary (RUS) 10 MAY 2008
2007 1:20:40 Kraków (POL) 23 JUN 2007
2006 1:19:36 La Coruna (ESP) 13 MAY 2006
2005 1:20:19 Helsinki (FIN) 08 AUG 2005
2004 1:20:38 La Coruna (ESP) 05 JUN 2004
2003 1:21:12 Paris (FRA) 23 AUG 2003
2002 1:23:49 Torino (ITA) 12 OCT 2002
2001 1:23:14 Edmonton (CAN) 04 AUG 2001
2000 1:28:16 Sydney (AUS) 22 SEP 2000
1999 1:23:46 Mézidon-Canon (FRA) 01 MAY 1999
1997 1:19:02 Eisenhüttenstadt (GER) 10 MAY 1997
1996 1:25:52 Atlanta, GA (USA) 26 JUL 1996
1995 1:20:37 Eisenhüttenstadt (GER) 14 MAY 1995
1993 1:33:24 Stuttgart (GER) 15 AUG 1993

Outdoor

30,000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2011 2:19:21.31 Reims (FRA) 12 MAR 2011

Outdoor

50 Kilometres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2016 4:40:50 Roma (ITA) 08 MAY 2016
2012 4:23:16 Dudince (SVK) 24 MAR 2012
2008 4:03:47 Beijing (CHN) 22 AUG 2008
2007 3:58:44 Santa Eulària des Riu (ESP) 04 MAR 2007

Indoor

5000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2010/11 20:05.95 Aubiére (FRA) 19 FEB 2011

Honours - World Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
3. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:22:40 Osaka (JPN) 26 AUG 2007
5. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:20:19 Helsinki (FIN) 08 AUG 2005

Honours - World Race Walking Cup

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
4. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:19:36 La Coruna (ESP) 13 MAY 2006
11. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:19:54 Cheboksary (RUS) 10 MAY 2008
9. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:23:49 Torino (ITA) 12 OCT 2002

Honours - African Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:25:02 Bambous (MRI) 13 AUG 2006
6. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:25:54 Durban (RSA) 26 JUN 2016

Honours - All-African Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:22:33 Algiers (ALG) 21 JUL 2007
1. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:30:32 Abuja (NGR) 11 OCT 2003

Honours - African Race Walking Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:25:54 Tunis (TUN) 23 APR 2017

Honours - Pan-Arab Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:28:34 Algiers (ALG) 05 OCT 2004
Results in:

20 Kilometres Race Walk

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
08 APR 2017 Poděbrady EA Race Walking Permit Meeting CZECZE B F 10. 1:25:59
23 APR 2017 Tunis African Race Walking Ch. TUNTUN A F 2. 1:25:54


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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.


Yearly progression

 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

 

Records

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


Career highlights

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.

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