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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 11/08/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Algerian athlete Taoufik Makhloufi, who won the 1,500m gold at the London Olympics on Tuesday, has expressed gratitude to Oman for playing a role in his success. The 24 year old, who won his country's first medal in London with a 3m 34.08s time, had attended a training camp in Muscat in April as part of his preparations for the Games.

Muscat has the Middle East's only Accredited Training Centre (ATC), a training hub approved by the International Athletics Associations' Federation (IAAF). The athletes train at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, where Makhloufi has undergone training a few times over the past couple of years. The Algerian is coached by Somalia-born coach Jama Aden, who was the IAAF middle-distance coach of the year in 2008.

In an e-mail response to Muscat Daily after the win, Makhloufi said, ''I love training in Oman and want to thank all the people there who helped me in my preparations.''

For Makhloufi, the gold medal was a sweet finish after a rocky start. On Monday, the athlete was debarred from taking part in the 1,500m event after he was apparently seen not trying hard' in the 800m heats, from which he pulled out midway into the race. The IAAF later reinstated him for the event.

''I am happy it all ended well after so many hassles,'' Makhloufi said. ''Tuesday turned out to be fantastic.''

Sudan's Abubaker Kaki (800m), the Qatari duo of Hamza Driouch (1,500m) and Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla (800m), Egyptian Mohammed Hamada (800m) and Mohammed al Azemi (800m) of Kuwait are other foreign athletes who trained under Aden at ATC Muscat for the London Olympics.

In an e-mail to Muscat Daily, Aden said, ''Makhloufi and all the other athletes like training there (Muscat). For me, it is a lucky destination. We get good results whenever we train there.''

''We are happy to have played a part in Makhloufi's success. This is the first Olympic gold medal from ATC Muscat,'' said Fawzi al Kiyumi, Oman Athletics Association general secretary and director of ATC


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