Long term planning is a somewhat rare philosophy in sport in Jordan so it is refreshing when a teenager tells you she is looking five years ahead to make in impact!
But that is exactly what 17-year-old Kareena Othman is doing.
The young swimmer has made big waves on the local scene but knows stepping up to global levels takes more years of hard graft, and that is why Tokyo 2020 is her goal.
“I am determined to be in Tokyo representing my country in 2020,” said Kareena who started taking swimming seriously at 12 when her potential was spotted.
“Me and my brother Kareem loved swimming but he chose to move to triathlon instead. But that was when I started planning to be the number one swimmer in Jordan.
“I started participating in different local championships and won a number of breaststroke titles. But also in 2010 I was chosen to represent the national team in and moved to another phase in my career when I started representing Jordan overseas.”
Three years later, she picked up third at the Arab Championships held in Amman, and she knew she had to step up her training if she was to succeed beyond the local and regional competitions.
In 2014 she set a new Jordan record in Morocco for breaststroke and, with Tokyo always in the back of her mind, she has increased her determination to keep swimming faster times.
“This is the dream of athletes worldwide. I will do my best to be there. By 2020, I will be 22 and believe that I will be ready for it if I work hard on myself from now. Nothing will stop me accomplishing my dream.”
But the challenge won’t be easy. The accomplished breaststroke star will find her options of qualifications limited in that discipline so she may need to switch to freestyle.
“It’s not impossible and I don’t believe in impossible, I just need to train harder and harder,” she said.
Away from swimming, the determined high school teenager says that one day she would like to be a journalist, and her studies will run hand-in-hand with her training.
Kareena highlighted the role of her coaches and the Jordan Swimming Federation in helping her to develop and has a strong message for other young potential champions:
“Follow your dreams and make them come true as no-one can do this for you,” she said.
Recently, Kareena was part of the Jordan team that finished second at the Arab Fin Swimming Championship held in Egypt and she said she could get used to seeing the Jordan flag being raised at international events!