Twenty-three-year-old Moroccan athlete and double Catalan cross-country champion, Douae Ouboukir, runs barefoot to pursue her dream: to become a world cross-country champion.
Ouboukir trained in the town of Sant Feliu del Llobregat on Friday, as she usually does when she competes, without shoes.
The young woman was hooked on running from her first school cross country competition, in which she achieved first place, as she said at the track.
“I did my best running barefoot,” she smiled as she recounted her beginnings in this discipline, encouraged by her coach, who also practised barefoot.
She would later find inspiration in the former South African cross country double world champion in Lisbon 1985 and Neuchatel 1986 during the apartheid era, Zola Budd.
“She is a great athlete for me. I like how she runs because she runs barefoot and well, when they compare her with me, it is a point of pride,” said the young athlete.
Nowadays the double Catalan champion spends her time training a team of young athletes, who run and play with her on the field.
“I have very big goals for the future,” added Ouboukir. “I would like to race a world cross country [circuit] barefoot and win,” she concluded.
The athlete proudly showed her the Catalan cross country champion medal after winning her second consecutive year of the Santa Cristina d’Aro Cross Country Championship of Catalonia in February.
Being the only one who competed barefoot, Ouboukir finished ahead of the Spanish marathoner, Marta Galimany.