Mohammed Mourhit explains his success
Mohammed Mourhit has been an almost instant success for his adopted country. For his first major championships in a Belgian vest in Seville last year he finished third in the World Championship 5000m. Today, he went on to win gold and end Paul Tergat's extraordinary winning streak.
How do you explain your success today?
I think confidence was the key. I trusted in my ability because I knew that I had run 26:52 for 5000m last year in Brussels and also finished second in the World Championships. I worked a lot on my preparation and just wanted to stay at the front for the whole race. I let the Kenyans do most of the pace-making, also because I could shelter behind them from the wind.
I saved all my speed for the last 400m. I was a little surprised to win though. But I am also very happy as it is my first world title. I was the best-placed European in the last three championships but now I have won. Because I am currently working on my speed as preparation for the Olympic 10,000m this course suited me because it was pretty fast.
Tell us about your past?
I started athletics as a young man in Morocco. At first, I trained with Said Aouita and he was very kind to me. He told me he thought I had a lot of talent and could break world records at distances from 800m to 10,000m. But unfortunately, I also had a lot of injury problems. By 1996, the Moroccan federation were keen to bring through a new generation of talent. I was too inconsistent and there were many great athletes in my country. Things improved for me when I went to Belgium to stay permanently in 1994. I discovered that I have one leg that is 20mm longer than the other, and this was responsible for a lot of my injury problems.
The main reason was that my brother had been studying there from the middle of the 1980s. I used to visit him at times. Then in 1994, as I said, I went there to live there permanently. In 1997, I got married to a Belgian woman - Beatrice.
In Seville, your wife watched your performance in the Stadium. Was she here also today?
Unfortunately, neither my wife nor my four year-old boy are here today. I only arrived on Friday in Vilamoura directly from a training camp at altitude. But I am looking forward to seeing them soon. We usually travel everywhere together.