Moroccan or Bahraini?

The success of Rachid Ramzi, Moroccan by birth but Bahraini by adoption, has provoked lively controversy between bloggers over who should claim responsibility for his victory.

The athlete was the first to offer the Emirate state a world title at the 2005 championship in Helsinki, as well as a gold medal in Beijing – even though he ran under Morocco’s green and red before 2002.

So which country gets the titles? Morocco - the country that discovered and encouraged his talent? Or Bahrain - the land that offered him everything he needed to succeed?

The Moroccan Athletic Federation refused to comment on his achievement.

"Morocco doesn’t encourage its athletes"

Moroccan journalist Bouzidi explained that the country's weak infrastructure is responsible for Rachid Ramzi's departure from Morocco.

I can understand why the Moroccan Athletic Federation refuses to comment on this event, considering the sensitivity of the subject.

The athlete has already spoken to foreign media about Morocco's modest athletic resources, and evoked the fact that the country does not support its athletes - not even its Olympic champions.

The federation's heads don‘t want to get involved with this controversy, as it's not the first time a Moroccan has chosen another country.

There was Mohieddine Benabed, naturalised as a French citizen and winner of the silver medal in the 3,000m steeple event. There is also Ball-Adil Rami, who recently declined an offer from Roger Lemerre, the Moroccan national football team coach, to join the team.

For Morocco, this is a closed case not to be discussed.

"I’m disgusted by the image of Rachid Ramzi draped in the Bahraini flag"

Moroccan student Amina Annebi believes that Rachid Ramzi should never have changed his citizenship.

I can't understand how a citizen can run for another country when his native country has never succeeded in clinching a medal in that sport.

We still have yet to win gold in Beijing. I'm a little disgusted by the image of Rachid Ramzi after his victory draped in the Bahraini flag and refusing a Moroccan flag handed to him by a supporter of the country. He completely ignored that spectator. Honestly, I felt betrayed and humiliated at that moment. I think we should revoke his Moroccan citizenship. He's not patriotic.

"I can understand why other athletes would change their citizenship"

Issam Barhoumi, a Tunisian martial arts champion, has refused to be naturalised under another flag, but understands why others would do it.

After the kung fu world championships in China in 2007, I was offered citizenship from the Kingdom of Jordan.

Recently, Libya also presented me with an attractive offer to join its national team, and I must say, I was very tempted.

The Lybian Federation offered me many financial privileges as well as my personal medical team. Needless to say, both propositions were attractive, but I refused them.

They are overwhelmed by the irrepressible desire to raise their flags in international ceremonies, for national pride, and they are ready to invest some heavy sums to satiate this desire.

Athletes accept for many reasons. Material goods and the quality of care that is lacking in their country of origin, the astronomical sums offered. For me, it was my patriotism that prevented me twice from competing under other flags than the Tunisian flag.

But I completely understand that other athletes accept a foreign citizenship when their professional career and future is threatened by lack of means in their country of origin.


I fully agree with Rachid Ramzi

Dear Amina,

Sorry Amina, i disagree with you. Unfortunately I'm not disgust about Rachid attitude. I fully agree with him. The poor guy got an accident during his training in Rabat and the Moroccan Federation refuse to pay him a surgery to get back to the competition. What do you advice him to do, go back to Safi and become one of the other million talent left to drugs and Moroccan coffes and Street.
We should all blame the Moroccan Federation which does not help our Moroccan athlete and do not offer them enough attention and care. The same apply to the Moroccan government who train every year thousand of engineers who leave morocco after their training. We all love and want to serve our country as much as we can, but corruption in all levels (education, business, sports……..) the list is very long; deter many of us to go back to Morocco.

Imagine that our athlete they do not have even training shoes!

The number of Moroccan Athlete participating recently in the Beijing JO under other countries Flag is about 10! What does it mean? Morocco as a country does not care about his citizen and talent.
The same apply to others sports (football, Gymnastic, Box, taekwondo….).
This why many of our athletes do not want to come back as did SAID AWITA, he lives currently in USA after his problems with so called general Hosni bensliman.

It’s a very good case for our country rulers to withdraw some lessons and actions to be taken.


Morocco has never cared for its Champion Athletes

I do agree with you commentator on your reply to Amina. She doesn't know what she's talking about, nor the number of years (not hours) of hard training it takes an athlete to reach the international scene and win a gold medal. I've got many examples to give, but I'll limit them to few to summarize my comment here:
1- Said AOUITA is one of the all-times great athlete by every expert's opinion and proven. Not even the Great Haile gebresalassie could be as talented to run distances from the 800 to the 10,000 meters. He had to leave Morocco not only because he wasn't given the opportunity when he was younger, but even after he won titles and came back as the National Technical Director he had obstacles in his way. Despite that he formed the best generation of athletes Morocco has ever known since: Khalid SKAH, Hicham Elguerrouj, Hissou Salah, Khalid & Brahim Boulami, Issangar, Brahim Boutayed...and the liste goes on. If it's nothing, it's the fact that you've got in front of you a living example of a Moroccan all-times great athlete to train you and give you confidence. Yet, they didn't appreciate him. he left and came back just 3 days ago after they called on him following the disaster of Beijing. I've known him in my university days as a runner and I appreciated him before then as an athlete.
2- Khalid SKAH another gold medalist in Barcelona and the 1st white guy to beat the Kenyans with their team tactics in the Cross-Country Wolrd Championship. He had to leave for Norway and even after he became a known athlete, the Moroccan Federation never even called on his expertise for Beijing when Al Jazeera hired him as a consultant for the Games...and on...and on...
3- Khalid KHANNOUCHI the legendary man who broke the Kenyan Marathon supremacy in Chicago and the only Man to beat Haile GEBRESELASSIE & Paul TERGAT in the same day and BREAK the World RECORD of the MARATHON in Chicago, he also had to leave Morocco for the USA (after winning the World University games title for the 5,000 meters) and start his career as a professioal distance runner while washing dishes in Brooklyn.
Where was the Federation all these years???
The 1st Moroccan Olympic Medalist was Abdesslam Radi (French soldier) who chose to run under the Moroccan Flag rather the french one, even after winning the title of World Champion in cross-country. he led the entire race trying to beat the world record at the 1962 Olympics Marathon race failing in the last 800 meters when the legendary Abebe BIKILA past him. This Great Man, died in his bed sick and poor having sold his SILVER MEDAL in the moroccan market to eat.
I DO NOT blame any of the Smail SGHIR, Mohamed MOUGHIT, Mohamed RIYAD and others for chosing to run under a different flag and for another country which has a little consideration and respect for them as athletes and human beings.
The bottom line, Morocco doesn't show any interest for its people in general. And if I'm wrong, why are so many taking citizenships all over the world. We maybe one of the top countries whose citizens are defecting elsewhere for lack of basic necessities while the rich is getting fatter everyday. It's not just the Federation or the Government, it's the entire system that needs change!!!
Kudos to Rachid RAMZI who showed them after refusing the Moroccan Flag that he stands by his decisions as a MAN!!! And if anyone has a comment they can write me at:, I'm open to arguing the topic with them because I'm pretty confident about what I'm talking about!!!

I'm correcting myself: Olympics of Rome 1960 not 1962

Just making a correction to the facts as I wrote my comment. The Olympics of Rome took place in 1960 when Bikila, the Ethiopian legendary twice olympic champion & marathoner who ran barefoot, passed Abdesslam RADI in the last 800 meters of that olympic marathon race (42.195 kilometers or 26.2 miles).