Rabat: Nezha Bidouane – Double world champion in 400m hurdles الرباط: نزهة بدوان – بطلة الاولمبية العالمية 400 م حواجز

Nezha Bidouane is a Moroccan double world champion in 400m hurdles.

She won the 400 m hurdles gold medal at the 1997 World Championships in Athens. In 1999 she won the silver medal at the World Championships in an African record time of 52.90 seconds. Then in 2001, she won the gold medal in Edmonton.



Nezha and I met for the first time in a mall in Rabat in May 2013 to have a coffee.

It was the first time she heard about Arab Excellence project and it was for me a honour to meet a champion that I used to see only on TV.
The first thing that caught my attention is her classy look, her sunglasses and her elegant walk. For sure, I was meeting a self-confident woman.

While I was explaining what all this organisation was about, she was slowly drinking her black coffee. When I finished, she told me:
– “I really believe in what you are doing, inspiration is key in the education of our youth. Especially in the public secondary and public school. I myself founded an organisation called “Femme, Réalisations et Valeurs” to push the women and young girls to practice sport. You have my support. How can I help you?
– We would love to conduct a recorded video, to get to know more about your childhood, the values that helped you achieve excellence as well as discuss some important matters in the Sport field in the Arab countries.
– No problem, I am used to this. If you don’t mind I have two conditions: we are speaking to the Arab world and to Morocco, so we will conduct the video in Arabic.
Second, I believe that it is important on top of the videos to organise events in underprivileged schools as well as universities.
– Perfect, I told her. We have specific events in the coming weeks, we would love to invite you to come with us and inspire the students and kids. As for the interview, we are Arab Excellence, so Arabic is perfect.
She smiled, we agreed on a meeting at her place for the next week and left. I knew at that time that we would become good friends.

Her house was perfectly well-decorated with great taste. Two little boys welcomed me as I entered and I immediately felt like home.
– This is Yacine and Yassir. I wanted to introduce them to you. I am sure they will be inspired by what you were doing.
– You mum is a great role model. You must be proud to have a mother like Nezha. I said to them.

At that moment I said to myself: they must see their mum on TV and know that their mum is a champion. But they grew up with this environment and they might not realise what I was saying. Maybe they will understand the real value of all this a bit later.

I arranged my material and we started the interview.