Khalid Skah

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Khalid Skah
Medal record
Men’s Athletics
Competitor for  Morocco
Olympic Games
Gold 1992 Barcelona 10,000 m
World Championships
Silver 1995 Gothenburg 10,000 m
Bronze 1991 Tokyo 10,000 m
Mediterranean Games
Gold 1993 Narbonne 10,000 m

Khalid Skah (Arabic: خالد سكاح‎) (born January 29, 1967) is a Moroccan track and field athlete, winner of 10,000 metres at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Born in Midelt, Morocco, Khalid Skah established himself first as a good cross country runner by winning the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 1990 and 1991.

His first major tournament on track was 1991 World Championships where he at first won a bronze in 10,000 m and then finished sixth at the 5000 m run. This was a disappointing outcome for Skah as, earlier in the season, he had won the 10000 m race in Oslo against a very strong field and had emerged as one of the favourites for the finals in Tokyo. However, for the 10 000 m final Richard Chelimo and the eventual world champion, Moses Tanui (both of Kenya) employed some very elaborate tactics and worked as a team. By the time of the 5000 m final Skah was probably tired. Yobes Ondieki (Kenya) who won the gold medal over 5000 m had expected Skah to be his major rival.

At the Barcelona Olympics, Khalid Skah had a long duel with Richard Chelimo from Kenya in the 10 000 m. When they were lapping another Moroccan Hammou Boutayeb, the latter interfered with Chelimo and Skah went on to win a second ahead of the Kenyan. After the race Skah was accused of receiving undue assistance from Boutayeb and was disqualified, but was later reinstated on a technicality. During the presentation ceremony, held the next day, Skah was loudly booed by the crowd as he received his medal; Chelimo received a standing ovation.

In 1993 Skah won the 5000 m race at the prestigious meeting in Zurich. However, he finished fifth in 5000 m at the 1993 World Championships. He ran his only world record in 2 miles (8:12.17) on the same season. He won the 1994 World Semi-Marathon Championships and finished second in 10,000 m at the 1995 World Championships.

Skah's last major international tournament was 1996 Summer Olympics, where he finished seventh in 10 000 m. In 1995, Skah was given Norwegian citizenship, where he lived and trained with athletes club B.U.L. After that, the Moroccan Athletics Association banned him from international competitions. Skah was reinstated in 2001 after which he tried a come-back to re-establish himself as one of the world's best long distance runners, finishing tenth in the World Half Marathon Championships that year.

Norway's involvement in transporting Skah's and Hopstock's children out of Morocco[edit]

The two children of Skah and Cecilie Hopstock fled Morocco in July 2009. The Norwegian embassy's alleged improper sheltering of the dual-citizenship children during their escape has led to a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.[1][2] Skah has issued a reward and filed for custody in Morocco. The former track champion maintains his innocence, claims the children were abducted[3] and asserts that armed Norwegian commandos intruded into his home.[4] Hopstock later confirmed she had hired off-duty naval rangers to help her sail her children out of Moroccan waters.[5] In 2013 media said that "Bolle and one of the other men still were working in the Norwegian Armed Forces at the time [of the abduction], but no disciplinary action was leveled at them".[6]

Personal life[edit]

Khalid Skah married Norwegian interior designer Anne Cecilie Hopstock after[citation needed] his Barcelona triumph, and they have two children. The marriage ended in divorce after the family relocated to Morocco in 2006. Skah lost a custody battle with his former wife in Norwegian courts two years later, yet failed to return the children. He is indicted on kidnapping, threats and domestic disturbance charges in Norway.[7] As of 2009, Norwegian authorities had not accomplished to serve Skah any verdict.[8]

Skah's sister is married to the Finnish runner Janne Holmén and lives in Uppsala, Sweden.

On 19 June 2013, Skah was arrested at Orly airport in Paris [9] On 21 June 2013 he was released and ordered not to leave Paris until further notice.

References[edit]

Khalid Skah profile at IAAF

  1. ^ [1] "Oslo could neither be unaware of, nor downplay the nature of the breaches made by its diplomats", Morroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation press release (French language)
  2. ^ [2] "Child custody case in Morocco", Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release
  3. ^ [3] "Olympic hero Skah seeks fatwa to get his children back". AFP article
  4. ^ [4] "Moroccan athlete demands Norway return his children", Reuters interview
  5. ^ [5] "Morocco Olympic champion's children 'not abducted'", BBC News article
  6. ^ "Skah vil til Norge". Dagbladet. 2013-06-20. "Bolle og en av de andre mennene tjenestegjorde fortsatt i Forsvaret på det tidspunktet, men det ble ikke iverksatt disiplinærsak mot dem." 
  7. ^ [6] "Olympic champion Khalid Skah (42) indicted on kidnapping, violence and serious threats charges". Verdens Gang, newspaper article (Norwegian language)
  8. ^ [7] "Khalid Skah refuses to acknowledge Norwegian law". Dagbladet, newspaper article (Norwegian language)
  9. ^ http://www.nettavisen.no/nyheter/article3638327.ece
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Morocco Saïd Aouita
Men's 3,000 m Best Year Performance
1990
Succeeded by
Germany Dieter Baumann
Preceded by
United Kingdom Carl Thackery
Men's Zevenheuvelenloop Winner (15 km)
1993
Succeeded by
Ethiopia Haile Gebrselassie