Jordan expects to send a record number of athletes to the Rio Paralympic Games this summer.
With the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games inching ever closer, the Jordan Paralympic Committee (JPC) has confirmed that it expects to send a record delegation to South America in September.
With nine athletes already confirmed for Powerlifting and Table Tennis, up to six more could qualify in the athletics disciplines, smashing the previous best delegation of nine athletes that competed in London four years ago.
So it is not surprising that there is an air of confidence at the Committee which has targeted up to four medals, an ambitious mark considering only six have been secured since Jordan first took part at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.
“We sat down after London and had a long hard look at ourselves and put in place an honest four-year plan for Rio under the guidance of our President HRH Prince Raad bin Zaid,” said Dr Jamal Dalahmeh, JPC secretary general.
“We have followed that plan closely and thankfully we are enjoying some positive results in terms of the numbers that have qualified. It hasn’t been easy and the budgets have been tight but we have made the most of what we have available to bring the best out of our athletes.”
And the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Six powerlifters have already booked their flights, alongside three table tennis players including the veteran Maha Al Bargouthi, Jordan’s only Paralympic gold medallist to date.
But the news could get even better once the athletics qualifiers are over.
“We have some very talented athletes now in Jordan, including several new faces who we are already preparing for Tokyo 2020,” said Dr Jamal. “We feel that disability sport is really moving in the right direction by creating more opportunities for people to get involved and take part. We have some exciting plans post-Rio.”
Those plans include more sports being added to Jordan’s roster. Currently there are six disability sports available, but the Committee wants to increase this to nine and that will include swimming for the first time.
“We are welcoming more people here all the time so we want to make more available for them to try,” added Dr Jamal. “Our dream is for all disabled people in Jordan to be able to take part in sport. Certainly this number of athletes competing on the highest level this summer will help us to get that message across.”
Looking ahead to Rio, Dr Jamal said that his delegation will never be better prepared.
“The planning starts early. Every athlete and official will be aware of their responsibilities and what is expected of them when representing Jordan. We hope to have several training camps, probably in Jordan, and then send them straight to Rio in the best physical and mental state possible.”
It promises to be an exciting summer with the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, and it certainly seems that Jordan will have a big part to play!