The JOC meets Malik Hariri: Husband, father, airline pilot and World Champion!
Malik Hariri is 44 years old, married with three children and a pilot for Royal Jordanian.
Any one of those roles alone would mean a hectic life for most men his age, but add to the mix that he is the World’s Number One for his chosen sport of Jujitsu, and you get the sense that there is something special about this man.
The JOC met with Malik to find out how he manages all of these different aspects, and his inspirational story is one of achievement across many sports as well as surviving a horrific rally driving accident back in 2006.
"It is about planning my time properly between my job, family and sport and thankfully my job as a pilot allows me to do that,” said Malik. "There is a saying that goes ‘don’t give a mission to someone who has a lot of time’ and I suppose that sums me up.”
Malik’s incredible rise to the top of the Masters Jujitsu ranks began in 2006 when a friend, Sami Al Jamal, invited the established sportsman to watch him train.
"I loved the sport immediately,” he said. "I started training hard and by 2013 I was ready for international competitions. In that first year I finished the season ranked second in the world for the heavy weight, blue belt division.”
A glorious 2014 followed with a climb to the top of his class after winning the World Jujitsu Championship in Brazil, which is the birthplace of the sport, along with more victories across the world.
But it could have been a much different journey. In his teenage years, he was a swimming champion before he switched his focus to motorsport, where he is still a co-driver today. He has co-driven for a number of Jordan drivers like Amjad Farrah, Bashar Al Bustami,Hasan Al Tabba', Ma'rouf Abu Samrah and the Lebanese driver Michele Saleh. He took the national co-driver title in 2013.
But he still recalls the day in 2006 though when he and Abu Samrah suffered a terrifying smash at the Dubai Rally.
"Those watching said our car flipped up to 12 times but thankfully we are still here to tell the story,” he said.
And what a story it has been since!
Among his role models, Malik says that former equestrian star Hani Bisharat has provided his local inspiration, while he grew up idolizing the late Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna.
Away from his hectic lifestyle, he unwinds by listening to Abdel Halim Hafez, Um Kolthoum and Mayyada Al Hennawi and tries to ride his motorbike whenever possible.
Despite his achievements, Malik says he is far from done yet and has targeted another World Championship for 2015 in the brown belt category. He got the year off to the best possible start with victory in the London International Winter Event last weekend.
He has become a tremendous ambassador for sport in Jordan and urges youngsters to keep active. His own children are following in his sporting footsteps with his daughter Raya a member of the national juniors football team.
"They are my biggest supporters, especially my wife who comes with me to all of my championships,” he said.
With Jujitsu not currently recognised as an Olympic sport, Malik appreciates that it has to fight for its funding harder than most, and he highlighted the role that HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, President of the Jordan Olympic Committee, is playing to develop all sports in the Kingdom.
So the next time you think you may be too busy, too old or too tired to play sport, remember the inspirational Malik Hariri who could well be looking down on you – literally from a Royal Jordanian cockpit!
You can follow Malik through: https://www.facebook.com/malek.hariri.3