Morocco’s Nawal El Moutawakel Re-elected to World Athletics Board
Former Moroccan Olympic champion Nawal El Moutawakel was re-elected to the Executive Board of World Athletics, the international athletics federation, for a four-year term.
The election took place during the 54th Congress of World Athletics held in Budapest, just two days before the start of the World Athletics Championships in the Hungarian capital this Saturday.
El Moutawakel, the first Moroccan, Arab, African, and Muslim woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, is one of 13 members elected in the Hungarian capital, including Uganda’s Beatrice Ayikoru.
El Moutawakel, a member of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has been a member of the World Athletics Council since 1995.
For his part, UK’s Sebastian Coe was re-elected for a third and final four-year term as President of World Athletics.
The 60-year-old Moroccan, who has held the post since 2015, was the only candidate to stand for re-election.
El Moutawakel is a Moroccan sports legend, having won the gold at the inaugural women’s 400-meter hurdles event at the 1984 Summer Olympics, becoming the first African, Arab, and Muslim woman to win an Olympic medal.
The Olympic medal was not her only athletic victory, as she grabbed gold medals in Moroccan, Arab, and African Athletic Championships in the late 70s and 80s.
She was also a gold medalist at the 1987 World University Games in Yugoslavia.
She helped promote sport, especially among women, by organizing recreational athletic activities in her home country following her Olympic victory.
In the 90s, El Moutawakel started holding regular recreational runs for women in Casablanca, with one of them reaching 30,000 participants, the biggest women’s run in any Muslim-majority country.
After her sports career, she also delved into the world of sports administration and politics, taking up office as Morocco’s Minister of Youth and Sports from 2007 to 2009.
She has also taken up administrative posts in various international athletic organizations.
These include her post as Vice-President of World Athletics’ Athletes’ Commission, as well as roles in Moroccan and pan-African athletics confederations.
Notably, she served as a member of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee.