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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Hicham El Guerrouj

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 2004

Hicham El Guerrouj (Berkane, Morocco, 1974)  is considered to be one of the most brilliant athletes of our time and personifies the real values of the Olympic spirit. A UNICEF ambassador of good will, alongside his sporting career he has carried out an important task focussed especially on the areas of education, health, nutrition and development in aid of Moroccan children.

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El Guerrouj made his debut in athletics in 1992 and since then, in the main event, the 1,500 metres. He has won several titles, finishing with the Gold Medal in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, where he was also first in the 5,000 metres. He is the world record holder for the 1,500 metres and the mile and is the athlete with the best record in both events in the last decade. His first international triumph arrived in 1992, when he was third in the 5.000 metres junior World Championships in Seoul. In 1995 he won the Silver Medal in the 1,500 metres at the Gothenburg World Championships and the Gold Medal at the indoor World Championships in Barcelona. In 1997 he became world champion at the same distance in Athens and repeated his victory indoors in Paris. One year later, he got the 1,500 metres world record (3.26.00) and in 1999 won the Gold Medal again at the World Championships in Seville. In 2000 he won the Silver Medal at the Sydney Olympic Games. In 2001 and 2003 he won the 1,500 metres at both World Championships in Edmonton and Paris and the Silver Medal in the 5,000 metres in the event held in France.He retired in 2006.

His sporting career is marked by various recognitions such as the award to humanitarian effort from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which he received in 1996. El Guerrouj was named best athlete of the year by the IAAF in 2001, 2002 and 2003. In this last year, he was also top of the world athletics list and was elected as a member of the IAAF Athletes Committee. Also, in 2002, he was chosen, together with the British athlete, Paula Radcliffe, as best athlete of the year by the prestigious athletics journal Track and Field News. He is a member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes?s Commission.

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