Morocco at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

With the start of 2008 Beijing Olympics on Friday, the event is prominent in the news and uppermost in the minds of the athletes who will be participating, as well as their supporters. Morocco has sent a delegation of 49 athletes to Beijing to participate in seven Olympic events, namely judo, taekwondo, athletics, boxing, swimming, fencing and archery. Fellow Moroccans are undoubtedly waiting in keen anticipation to see what the outcome will be.

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Morocco has brought home 17 Olympic medals from past events, all of which were achieved in athletics and boxing. Four-time world champion, Hicham El Guerrouj, excelled in the 2004 Athens Olympics, taking home gold medals for both the 1,500 meter and 5,000 meter men’s races, while Hasna Benhassi achieved a silver medal for the women’s 800 meters. Participants and their coaches are confident that they stand a very good chance of earning medals across all the events in which they will be participating.

Abbouda Khadija made history as the first female archer to represent Morocco in the Olympic Games when she participated in the Sydney games in 2000. There are around 80 archers in Morocco, with about 40 percent being female. She is looking forward to representing her country in this challenging sport and is aware that she is up against some stiff competition from countries such as South Korea, Japan and China where archery as a sport is very well developed. Khadija aims to promote the development of archery in her home country.

The taekwondo team representing Morocco have undergone an intensive training program in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and are confident that they will take home at least one medal. The team did extremely well in the Arab Championships Cup, which was held in Bahrain last month, with the women’s team winning four gold, one silver and two bronze awards. The team includes Abdul Kader Zaroori who will be taking part in the over 80 kg category for men, while Ghizlan Toudali will represent Morocco in the under 49 kg category and Mona Bin Abd Al Rasool and Shaikha Maitha will both participate in the under 67 kg category.

The majority of the Moroccan delegation at the 2008 Beijing Olympics will be representing their country in the categories of boxing and athletics/track & field. This is historically where Morocco’s strength lies and there is great anticipation that they will once again shine in these events.

After Morocco’s team had arrived and settled in at the Athlete’s Village in Beijing, Feddoul Benzeroual expressed the team’s appreciation for the excellent facilities and the attention that was being paid to ensure that individual needs are catered for with regard to the food provided. As teams converge on Beijing from all over the world, tension and excitement is sure to be mounting, with supporters back home in Morocco wishing their team success in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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