|http://sports.sina.com.cn 2004年08月28日 16:50 新浪体育|
On the surface Jaouad Gharib appears to be quite an unassuming character, but the Moroccan is the current world champion in one of the toughest events on the athletics schedule.
The men's marathon will round off the Athens Olympic Games on Sunday as the keenly awaited race runs along the same course used in the 1896 Olympics, the last time the Games were held in Greece.
Gharib knows the significance of the event as Morocco last won gold in the 1960 Games.
The pressure to win is huge but the Moroccan is ready to face the challenge.
Gharib will certainly start as one of the favourites to win on Sunday.
The Moroccan had come from nowhere to win the marathon at last year's World Championships in France.
But Gharib believes that with the 'favourite' tag hanging around his neck, the Olympic race could be different.
One of Gharib's biggest threats is expected to come from American Allan Culpepper, whose own profile was raised following his winning performance at the U.S. Olympic trials earlier this year.
Allan is relatively new on the scene, the U.S. Olympic trials being only the second marathon of his career.
"how can I run the best race and how can I achieve the time that I'm hoping to run That, I feel, can be competitive for being in the medals. You know, I think Paul Tergat is probably the name that first jumps into my mind (as a potential winner)... And because he has been such a great champion for all these years and with his current world record being set… that's probably the only guy who jumps out of sight. Aside from that, I feel like a there is a whole pool of guys who can be there in the medals."
Though the field might be too strong for the American to lift a medal, Paul Tergat of Kenya is the current world record holder in the men's marathon.