Taoufik Makhloufi – Olympic Champion
Algerian track and field athlete, Taoufik Makhloufi recently made history by winning the gold medal for the 1500m race at the 2012 London Olympics, being the first Olympic gold medal win for Algeria since the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Specializing in middle distance running, Makhloufi also earned gold for the 800m races at the 2011 All-Africa Games and the 2012 African Championships where he represented his home country. His victory at the 2012 London Olympics is all the more notable in light of the fact that he had dropped out of the 800m race with a knee injury and it appeared unlikely that he would compete in the 1500m at all. Makhloufi publicly dedicated his victory to the Algerian people and the whole of the Arabic world.
Born in Souk Ahras, Algeria, on 29 April 1988, Taoufik Makhloufi competed in his first international event at the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, finishing 82nd in the 8 kilometer race for juniors. In 2009 he moved to the senior level, taking 4th place in the 2009 Mediterranean Games. At the annual Golden Gala meeting, held in the Olympic Stadium in Rome, later that same year, he set a personal best time of 3:32.94 – his gold medal Olympic time was 3:34.08. Makhloufi went on to represent Algeria at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics held in Berlin, Germany, where he came in as a semi-finalist. In 2010 he achieved a time of 3:32.94 at the Herculis meeting in Monaco, ranking among the top twenty runners.
2011 saw Makhloufi competing in both Doha and Stockholm on the 2011 Diamond League circuit. He took his second national 1500m title in 2011 and again reached the semi-final stage in the World Championships. He made his international breakthrough at the 2011 All-Africa Games where he won the 1500m bronze medal and the gold medal for the 800m race.
In 2012 Makhloufi competed in both the 800m and 1500m, winning the 800m title at the 2012 African Championships in Athletics held at Porto Novo, Benin, and setting a personal best time of 1:43.88. At the 2012 Herculis meeting in Monaco on 20 July, he set a new personal best time of 3:30.80. Taoufik Makhloufi’s 2012 London Olympic gold medal is a clear indication that this Algerian athlete has what it takes to be a champion and fans will no doubt be watching his career with keen interest.