The former double World 400m Hurdles champion Nezha Bidouane brilliantly negotiated another impressive barrier yesterday by succeeding in gathering some 20,000 women and girls from all social and economic backgrounds to take part in the second edition of the Rabat Women’s Run - Running for Victory - organised under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
Neither the rain nor a cold wind for April in Morocco could prevent these women and girls to come forward to run a course of 7.6km up and down the main streets of the Moroccan capital Rabat in an atmosphere of joy and happiness.
The occasion which constitutes a nice promotion for Moroccan womanhood and also is a symbol of its emancipation, was honoured by the presence of Princess Lalla Amina, chairwoman of Special Olympics Morocco and member of the Special Olympics International Advisory Board, as well as numerous other sports and political personalities, of which the President of the Moroccan Olympic Committee General Housni Benslimane, local authorities and the president of the Moroccan Royal Confederation of Athletics Abdeslam Ahizoune.
At the end of the run Awards were presented to winners in the categories of Special Olympics Morocco, schoolgirls, Entraide Nationale (national mutual aid), and women over 60.
"This event aims to acquaint Moroccan women with the importance of sport as a means for social and professional integration, encourage them to join the national sports movement, and contribute to promoting physical exercise for women," said Bidouane.
"Having taken my retirement from sports, I told myself that the best manner of returning to sport what it gave so generously to me during my career was to devote myself to running. With friends, we tried many different concepts including events for diabetics, for children with cancer etc… before definitely opting for the Women running for victory,” said Bidouane, who is chairwoman of the "Women, Achievements and Values" organisation.
"I am very satisfied with the organisation of the event as demonstrated by the record participation of more than 20,000 women, as the last edition had 17,000.”
After the success of the first two editions, Bidouane, "the queen of tartan”, and her fellow organisers now look forward to next year’s edition with the aim of the event becoming international in the next few years.
Mohammed Benchrif for the IAAF