Morceli's 1995 Season - Reports
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Noureddine Morceli - 1995 Season Reports

Report List: 
  Interview: Morceli preparing to serve some more magic
  Gothenburg: Morceli takes giant strides into history books
  Brussels: Morceli Runs Third Fastest 3000m All Time
  Rieti:  Third time wasn't the charm at Rieti invitational
  Monaco: Morceli runs Third Fastest 1500m All Time
  Johannesburg: Algerian Morceli wins 1500 meters at All Africa meet

Morceli preparing to serve some more magic

July 27, 1995
LONDON (Jul 27, 1995 - 00:24 EDT) - Noureddine Morceli resembles a highly specialised chef who can cook only six items.

But the secret of his success is that he cooks them better than anybody else in the world.

"World record in the mile, sir ? Certainly, that'll be with you in 3 minutes 44.39 seconds..."

"World record in the 1,500 metres ? No trouble, we'll knock that off for you in 3 minutes 27.37 seconds...and we can do you a very appetising 3,000 in 7:25.11. The 2,000's a bit quicker at 4:47.88. Will that be all ?" Morceli has been serving up world records now for four years since breaking the world indoor 1,500 metres mark in 1991.

Of more relevance to next month's proceedings in Gothenburg, he added the outdoor 1,500 in 1992, broke that again two weeks ago in Nice, set the mile record in 1993, the 3,000 in 1994 and the 2,000 this month.

His assault on his own world 1,500 record failed by just 15-100ths of a second in Monte Carlo on Tuesday night but he already has his sights set on Sebastian Coe's longstanding 800 and 1,000 metres records which both date from the summer of 1981.

"If everything is right for me then I can break every record between 800 and 10,000 metres before I finish my career," the 25-year-old Algerian said in Nice earlier this month.

"Really, I feel extraordinary and I have no doubt that I can do this."

Morceli's appearance, his running style and his unwavering self-belief in his own ability evoke vivid memories of another great Arabian Knight of the Track, the Moroccan Said Aouita.

Throughout the 1980s Aouita also made extravagant claims about how he was going to cook up the record books. And just like Morceli he was more often than not as good as his word.

Aouita set five world records at his peak in the mid-to-late 1980s and there was a touch of poetry in the way that his last surviving record -- the 2,000 mark of 4:50.81 he set in Paris in July 1987 -- should fall to Morceli in the same city earlier this month.

Aouita, who lent a guiding hand to the young Morceli, predicted that the Algerian would succeed him as the undisputed king of middle-distance running and so far has been proved right.

Morceli himself has often said that he wants to be remembered as the greatest middle-distance runner of all time and the way he has bitten such huge chunks off the records he as broken shows that he could well earn that accolade.

When he broke Steve Cram's mile record in 1993 he did so by almost two seconds. He wiped 3.85 seconds off Moses Kiptanui's 3,000 record last year, almost three seconds off Aouita's 2,000 record and 1.49 seconds off his own 1,500 record.

Despite those achievements he is still to emulate Aouita's 1984 Olympic gold medal, won over 5,000, or the bronze Aouita won in the 800 in Seoul in 1988.

The only real blemish on Morceli's all-conquering career came in the Olympics in 1992 when he lost form just before the Barcelona Games and finished seventh in his 1,500 metres final.

Although later that year he set the 1,500 world record for the first time, that defeat still rankles.

He will be out to improve on that next year at Atlanta and is likely to bid for his first Olympic title with three world titles already in the bag.

He has won the 1,500 in both 1991 and 1993 and unless Burundian Venuste Niyongabo outsmarts him in Gothenburg, it is difficult finding anyone else who can prevent Morceli from taking the gold.

Like most good chefs, Morceli has an almost insatiable appetite. And if the ingredients are just right he can devour many more world titles and world records.

-, Reuters

Morceli takes giant strides into history books

August 13, 1995
GOTHENBURG, Sweden (Aug 13, 1995 - 14:30 EDT) - Noureddine Morceli, the finest middle-distance runner of his era, took further giant strides on Sunday to winning a place in the history books as the greatest of all time.

The little Algerian completed a third consecutive world 1,500 metres title without any trouble whatsoever, easing to the front 30 metres before the bell tolled for the final lap.

He then accelerated steadily over the last 400 metres, as his opponents struggled vainly in his slipstream, to win in a comfortable three minutes 33.73 seconds.

Obsessed by time both on and off the track, Morceli pointed out in his post-race news conference on Sunday that he was still only 25 with his best years yet to come.

His record is already astonishing. Four years ago he broke the world indoor 1,500 metres record, adding the outdoor in the following year.

He set a mile record in 1993, added the 3,000 last year and the 2,000 last month.

In Nice last month he also slashed his own world 1,500 metres record and he has his sights set on Briton Sebastian Coe's 800 mark plus the 1,000 metres record.

The one hiccup in Morceli's career has been the 1992 Barcelona Olympics where he ran a tactically inept race, getting boxed on the final lap and finishing a deeply disappointed seventh.

Critics said grand prix racing with pre-selected pacemakers had not prepared Morceli for the rough and tumble of championship racing, an accusation that had also been levelled at Coe.

Coe responded with consecutive Olympic 1,500 titles. Morceli now has a hat-trick of world titles and his racing on Sunday could not be faulted.

"I never know what to expect in a race," he said. "The race was a little bit fast, not like what I had expected. I expected it to be a little bit slow.

"Winning the world championship is different for me and my family and the feeling is just great."

It would be easy to say Morceli is a once in a lifetime athlete, except that one person's liftime could encompass Coe, Said Aouita of Morocco and Herb Elliott.

Coe and Elliott were at a series of special celebrations in London last year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first four-minute mile, along with Morceli who was plainly delighted to be among their company.

Elliott, the tough Australian who broke the world record in the 1960 Rome Olympic 1,500 final, has generally been considered the best of all time, although strong cases have been made for Coe and New Zealand's Peter Snell.

Morceli, who attempts his own world mile record at the Zurich grand prix on Wednesday, is determined to overtake them all.

Mentioning that Coe had run three minutes 29.77 seconds over 1,500 metres at the age of 31, Morceli said pointedly: "For me, I have a lot of time."


Third time wasn't the charm at Rieti invitational

September 6, 1995
Three world record attempts. Three failures. Three explanations.

That was the score at the rain-pelted Rieti invitational track and field meet Tuesday night, when world champions Noureddine Morceli, Moses Kiptanui and Sonia O'Sullivan each came up slow in efforts to set new marks.

Morceli, who won the 1,500 meters at the World Championships in Goteborg, Sweden, last month, sought to lower his record for the 3,000 on the same track where he established bests in the 1,500 in 1992 and the mile the following year. The world's premier middle distance runner also had the fastest 2,000 ever earlier this year.

But the downpour -- which resulted in cancellation of the men's pole vault, sidelining world-record holder Sergei Bubka -- hurt the Algerian's effort Tuesday, he said.

"The rain makes me heavy," Morceli said after finishing in 7 minutes, 29.36 seconds, 4.25 seconds off his record. "You can't always run a record."

Morceli had a good shot, though, following the lead set by his brother, Ali, to reach the halfway mark four seconds under world-record pace.

Kiptanui, who attempted to better the two-mile standard, found fault with his rabbits.

"I failed to get the record, but the pacemakers failed to set the rhythm for me," said the world champion and record-holder for the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Kiptanui finished in 8:13.40, nearly six seconds slower than the target.

"The weather didn't help us," the Kenyan acknowledged.

Unlike the men, 5,000 world champion O'Sullivan of Ireland said the weather did not affect her declared assault on the women's mile record. She had a succinct reason for finishing in 4:29.82, substantially off the record of 4:15.61.

"At the end, I was just too tired," O'Sullivan said. "Perhaps it's because it's the end of the season."

Other world champions in action Tuesday were Michael Johnson of the United States, who took the 200 meters in the year's third-best time (20.09), and Britain's Jonathan Edwards, who won the triple jump with a top effort of 56 feet, 8 1/2 inches, well short of his world record of 60-0 1/4.

Former world champion Linford Christie of Britain, hampered at Goteborg by injury, won the 100-meter dash in 10.20, then reiterated he would not likely defend his Olympic title next year at Atlanta.

After the race, Christie said, "I probably will not be competing in Atlanta. I have nothing to show at 35, except that athletics can be fun."


Morceli runs Third Fastest 3000m All Time

August 25, 1995
Noureddine Morceli took a shot at his own flat 3000 WR> With brother Ali setting a 2:28.04 pace for the first kilometer, everything seemed ok. But the second kilo rose to a 2:30.02 for a 4:58.06 aggregate, by which time the Algerian was a master of his own fate. Morceli still closed well to win in 7:27.50, the No. 3 clocking wver and more than 11 seconds ahead of Khalid Boulami's 7:38.58.

- Ed Gordon, Track and Field News November 1995, p.10.

Morceli runs Third Fastest 1500m All Time

September 9, 1995
Two invitational men's races were added to this year's program. The 1500 was billed as a Noureddine Morceli WR attempt. American Steve Holman gamely stuck with the Algerian as Vyacheslav Shabunin paced themthrough a 1:51.7 at 800.

But Morceli drew away inexorably and covered the final 400 in 54.2 to close his 3:28.37, No. 3 on both the world and Morceli all-time lists. Holman held form to finish in a solitary 2nd at 3:32.71.

- Roy Conrad,
Track and Field News November 1995, p.7.

Algerian Morceli wins 1,500 meters at All African meet

September 24, 1995
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Sep 24, 1995 - 16:48 EDT) -- Algerian Noureddine Morceli won the 1,500 meters by 40 meters in an impressive high-altitude race Sunday at the inaugural All African International Invitation track and field meet.

Despite suffering from a cold, Morceli, the three-time world 1,500-meter champion and holder of four world records, was timed in 3 minutes, 39.01 seconds, nearly five seconds ahead of Kenya's Vincent Malakwen.

The time was well off his world record of 3:27.37 set July 12 at Nice, France, but Morceli -- who trains and prefers to race at sea level -- considered the victory his best result ever at an altitude as high as Johannesburg's 5,750 feet.

"I wanted to put on a good and spectacular race for the public here," Morceli said. "I hope they enjoyed it. This is my best race at high altitude."

Morceli was one of several stars at the meet, the first at the just-completed Johannesburg Stadium and an event South Africans hope will give weight to Cape Town's bid to host the 2004 Olympics.

As expected, international athletes dominated the meet. None set major records, although impressive times were posted by sprinters Linford Christie, Frankie Fredericks, Irina Privalova and 800-meter specialist Maria Mutola.

Mozambique's Mutola raced to a 40-meter victory over Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan in 1:57.67, retaining her unbeaten record at 800 meters in finals since the 1992 Olympics.

Fredericks, of Namibia, made up for his second-place finish to Christie in the 100 meters Saturday by blazing to a 19.93 victory in the 200 -- only .12 seconds off his African record -- despite a determined challenge from Emmanuel Tuffour of Ghana.

Privalova, of Russia, who won Saturday's women's 100 meters, held off Pauline Davis of the Bahamas Sunday in the 200, clocking 22.38.

Not all the stars performed as well. Ukrainian Sergei Bubka, the only pole vaulter ever to clear 20 feet, failed three times to go 19-10 1/4, settling for victory at 19-4 1/4.

And Burundi's Venuste Niyongabo won the men's 3,000 meters at 7:52.99.

-, Associated Press

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