By Naoufel Cherkaoui
By Naoufel Cherkaoui
Rabat, July 31 , 2012
Disappointment clouds the participation of Moroccan athletes at the start of the Olympic Games.
The Moroccan Olympic team had a tough start at the London Games.
The football squad on Sunday (July 29th) lost to Japan 0-1, three days after drawing against Honduras 2-2. The team will face Spain on August 1st.
Meanwhile, boxer Badr-Eddine Haddioui was eliminated in in the first round of the men’s middleweight competition (75kg) after losing last Saturday to Uzbek Abbos Atoev 9-11.
Bantam weight boxer Aboubakr Seddik Lbida (56kg) was also eliminated in the first round after losing to Australian Ibraham Balla. The judges determined that Balla was the winner following an even score at 16-16.
The competition is also over for swimmer Sara El Bekri, on whom Moroccans had pinned high hopes. She lost the women’s 100 metres breaststroke.
Two of the Moroccan leading running stars were barred before the competition even began.
Mariem Alaoui Selsouli, one of the favourites for the 1500m gold medal, was banned after failing a drug test.
The 28-year-old tested positive for a banned diuretic on July 6th during the IAAF Meeting Areva in Paris, the seventh leg of the Samsung Diamond League.
Selsouli set the world’s fastest time this year in the women’s 1,500m race (3:56.15) at the Paris event. Her time also smashed the Moroccan record by more than three seconds.
The athlete denied taking any drugs and declared that this was the first time she had heard of the substance she was accused of taking. She said that the life-saving substance she was injected with by her doctor two or three days before the Paris meeting in early July must have contained diuretic.
The Moroccan sprinter expressed hope that the Olympic committee would reverse its decision and allow her to participate in the games.
Selsouli also said that she didn’t expect to be banned since her doctor was well aware that she was a runner and that she could only take medicine that does not contain stimulants.
She stated that she had prepared in collaboration with the Moroccan Athletic Federation all the documents to submit to the IAAF to appeal the decision.
“I will continue my preparations in the hope of returning in the near future to the track, and perhaps I may participate in the London Olympics as the ban is temporary, not final, and could be lifted at any moment,” Selsousi said.
Leading marathon runner Abderrahim Goumri was also suspended.
“Morocco leans toward referring both runners to court, after their dismissal from the competition of the London Olympics for testing positive for doping,” Youth and Sports Minister Mohamed Ouzzine said in London. “We are going to examine all the files and we will consider each case individually. It is up to the athletes to assume responsibility for their actions.”