Based in Northern Italy, Chatbi began competing in 2006 and finished third in the Tutta Dritta 10km that year. He ran a new steeplechase best at the Mondo Keien Meeting in Uden, Netherlands, setting a new stadium record of 8:29.13.
He improved significantly in 2009 and won his first major medal by setting a Games record and personal best of 8:13.11 for the gold in the steeplechase at the 2009 Mediterranean Games. At the 2009 World Championships in Athletics, he qualified for the final after finishing second in his heat behind eventual gold medallist Ezekiel Kemboi. However, he withdrew from the final after failing a mandatory drugs test, testing positive for clenbuterol. He was the first person to test positive at the championships. He received a three-year ban from competitive athletics lasting from 18 August 2009 until 17 September 2012.