The name Morceli is attached to the Mediterranean Games since the 1979 edition in Split when Abderrahmane won the silver medal in 800m and the bronze in 1500m. Born in 1957, Abderrahmane, who also participated twice in the Olympic Games (1980 and 1984) with a record time of 3:36.26, naturally became the coach of his little brother Noureddine who was born 13 years after him. The was is a jewel who by mimicry also wanted to become a great champion and he had the qualities to do so.
He discovered athletics at the age of seven by watching on television the race of his older brother, the Algerian 1500m champion, who finished fourth at the World Cup in Montreal. The “little one” progressed very quickly as in 1988 he was ninth in the World Junior Cross Country Championships and won the silver medal at the World Championships in Sudbury (3:46.93). Despite these performances, he was not selected on the Algerian team for the Seoul Olympics, but obtained a scholarship to study physical education at Riverside College in California. He immediately went on a higher level and in 1989, he achieved a time of 3:37.87, a performance that almost equalled that of his brother.
Noureddine began his international domination in the 1500m as early as 1990 by breaking the world record twice, holding it from 1992 to 1998 to bring it down to 3:27.37 in 1995. He also won three world titles in a row in 1991, 1993 and 1995. He also won the indoor title in 1991, but was disappointed with his seventh place at the Barcelona Olympics given that he was considered the favourite for the title.
He “avenged” himself four years later by winning the gold medal in Atlanta and became the first Algerian male athlete to be crowned in this event, the same day as his compatriot Hocine Soltani who won in boxing, in the lightweight division. He thus confirmed his seven consecutive years at the top of the world from 1990 to 1997. He won the 1500m at the London World Cup (3:34.70), allowing the African team to take first place in the final overall ranking. At the end of the 1994 season, he was awarded the IAAF World Male Athlete of the Year distinction from the IAAF, succeeding British hurdler Colin Jackson. Throughout his career, he held the world records in the outdoor 1500m with 3:28.86 (1992) and 3:27.37 (1995), the mile with 3:44.39 (1993), the 2000m with 4:47.88 (1995) and the 3000m (7:25.11); and the indoor 1000m with 2:15.26 (1992) and the indoor 1500m with 3:34.16 (1991).
Like his brother a few years earlier, Noureddine participated in the Mediterranean Games staged in France in 1993. In Narbonne, he made no distinctions and won the gold medal in 1500m with 3:29.20 ahead of the Spanish Fermin Cacho. On that occasion, he achieved the best world performance of the year, which allowed him to be selected as World Champion of Champions by the French sports newspaper L’Équipe.
During his last Olympic outing in Sydney in 2000, he no longer had the will to fight as he was eliminated in the semi-finals. This was the end of his career and he subsequently dedicated himself to the development of sport at a national and international level. He was inducted into the IAAF Hall of Fame in 2013. On 2 January 2020, he was appointed Secretary of State for Elite Sports under the Djerad government. He retained this position until 23 June 2020.