İIham Tanui Ozbilen, Turkey, almost limping towards the end of the race, finished eighth in a time of 3 minutes 36.72 seconds
World champion Sally Pearson of Australia also pulled out all the stops to claim the 100 hurdles title, edging out 2008 gold medalist Dawn Harper by 0.02 seconds for victory.
Makhloufi was briefly excluded from participating in all events at the Games for not trying in his 800 heat but there was no questioning the 24-year-old’s effort as he blasted away from the pack to coolly take gold on a wet night in London.
“Yesterday I was out, today I’m in. This is a gift for the Algerian people and for the whole of the Arabic world,” said Makhloufi, who was reinstated to the Games on medical grounds after evidence was provided by two doctors.
Defending champion Asbel Kiprop, awarded the 2008 title after winner Rashid Ramzi failed a dope test, was never in the mix and trailed in last, putting his poor showing down to a hamstring injury.
Asked if Makhloufi should have been in the final, Kiprop told reporters: “Yes it was healthy to have him in the race. It was not a big offense what he did.”
Pearson led from the start in the hurdles but, for once, did not pull away from the field, crossing the line with Harper.
The pair faced an anxious wait for the result which finally showed Pearson as victor in an Olympic record 12.35, Harper second and fellow American Kellie Wells third.
The champion looked shell-shocked when her name flashed up on the scoreboard first.
“Relief was the first thing I felt and then shock. I’m just going through the motions,” said the 25-year-old Pearson. “I really wanted this.”
Harper had thought for one fleeting moment the title was still hers.
“Then I looked up [at the scoreboard] and then I said ‘darn, I didn’t get her.’ It was a really close race’,” Harper said.
Earlier, it looked as though German discus thrower Robert Harting could have given the women a run for their money as, stripped to the waist, he leaped the hurdles in celebration after his gold medal, producing a cheer from the crowd each time.
Harting took the lead from Iran’s Ehsan Hadadi in the penultimate round with a throw of 68.27.
“I don’t drink beer, I will have a non-alcoholic beverage,” the world champion said of his celebration plans.
Hadadi’s silver with 68.18 was Iran’s first Olympic track and field medal.
There were five medalists in the high jump, led by Russian Ivan Ukhov who cleared 2.38 despite jumping in a t-shirt after losing his competition vest.
American Erik Kynard took silver with 2.33 and the bronze was shared by Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim, Canadian Derek Drouin and Robert Grabarz of Britain, who all jumped 2.29 with identical records.
“It’s going to be busy on the podium,” Grabarz said. “As long as we get a medal each and don’t have to split it we’ll be all right.”