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Laureates  

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Hassiba Boulmerka

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 1995

World 1,500 metres champion in 1991 and 1995 and Olympic champion in Barcelona , Hassiba Boulmerka (Constantina, Algeria, 1968 - ) is a steady driving force behind the movement promoting women´s sport in her country.

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Her sporting career started early, and she began to stand out at international level at the Seoul Olympics of 1988, gaining the Gold Medal for the 1,500 metres at the world championships in Tokyo in 1991, a medal which she won again at Barcelona (the first ever Olympic gold for an Algerian sportsman or woman, even before her outstanding compatriot Nourredine Morceli) with a time of 3.55.30, the fifth fastest of all time. In the world championship in Gothenburg (Sweden)  in 1995 she again won the gold with a time of 4.02.42.

Threatened by Islamic fundamentalist groups, her life is in constant danger. In fact, at the last world championships in Sweden, she had to be transferred to a different hotel from that of her Algerian companions, with special security measures. Although she refuses to leave her country, and maintains a defiant attitude in the face of all kind of obstacles, she has a French visa which allows her to live temporarily in France and to travel there more easily when she has to participate in some sporting competition.

Boulmerka had already received threats from some of the Islamic fundamentalist groups when she participated in the Tokyo world championships, as happened to her again at the Olympic games in Barcelona`92.

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