El-Ouafi was born near the town of Ouled Djellal. There he joined the French military regiment that secured French colonial rule in Algeria. One of his superior officers recognized El-Ouafi's athletic talent and sent him to France for a military sports competition. El-Ouafi made a good impression there and was allowed to participate in qualifying for the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris .
El-Ouafi managed to qualify and finished seventh in his first Olympic marathon. This good result enabled him to better prepare for the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam . In the Olympic race, he stayed behind the leading runners for three quarters of the distance. Only five kilometers from the finish did he overtake his rivals and finally crossed the finish line first, 26 seconds ahead of second-placed Manuel Plaza from Chile.
After his surprising victory, El-Ouafi toured the United States. Due to the income that he achieved, however, he lost his amateur status and could no longer participate in sports competitions. El-Ouafi opened a café in Paris and largely disappeared from the public eye. It was not until in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne with Alain Mimoun another Algerians won the marathon, a reporter made in search of El-Ouafi and found him impoverished again.
El-Ouafi was murdered three days after his 61st birthday by members of the Algerian liberation movement FLN after he refused to support them in their struggle.
- Article about the 1928 Olympic marathon on marathoninfo.free.fr (French)
- Boughera El-Ouafi in the Sports-Reference database (English; archived from the original )
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||French-Algerian marathon runner|
|DATE OF BIRTH||October 15, 1898|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||near Ouled Djellal , Algeria , French North Africa|
|DATE OF DEATH||October 18, 1959|
|Place of death||Saint-Denis , Seine department , France|