The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Politics Hicham’s next calling

Rabat: Moroccan athlete Hicham el Guerrouj would like to enter politics after he has retired from the track.

The 28-year-old 1500m and mile world record holder said in Wednesday’s edition of the Aujourd’hui Le Maroc daily that his emphasis would be to improve the lives of Moroccan youth.

“It is a personal ambition,” said the three-time 1500m outdoor world champion.

“After my athletics career, which I hope will be filled with more glory (the Olympic 1500m title remains the one title to have eluded him) politics appears to me the ideal field in which one can improve the social conditions for Moroccans.”

El Guerrouj, who was named World Male Athlete of The Year in Monaco on Sunday, becoming the only man to win on successive years, said it was imperative young Moroccans felt more part of society.

“Moroccan society has several illnesses,” said El Guerrouj, who is a close friend of King Mohammed VI.

“However the priority for me is integrating the young into Moroccan society,” added El Guerrouj, who was an ambassador for UNICEF.

El Guerrouj explained why on receiving his award from the sport’s world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), he had dedicated it to Muslims suffering either the privations of war or under the threat of attack.

“It was a call on those who govern to improve the lives of millions of people, whether they be Muslims, Christians or Jews.”

El Guerrouj had made an emotional speech on receiving his award from IAAF president Lamine Diack.

“In the month of Ramazan, I would like to dedicate this award to all those Muslims and others who are suffering in the war in Afghanistan, or in Iraq and Palestine” he said.

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