THE latest member of Team Jordan to book his spot for this summer’s Rio Olympic Games has spoken to www.joc.jo about his dream coming true. At 29-years-old, Ibrahim Khalaf has become the first Jordanian to qualify for the judo events at an Olympic Games. Twenty years since Waleed Azzam was invited to take part, Ibrahim has warned his sport in merit, coming through the tough Asian qualifying section to become the fourth Jordanian to book his spot for Rio. It is a journey that started as a 14 year-old when his brother Mousa took him along to the local club to give it a go. It started an incredible adventure which has seen him become one of Jordan’s best loved sportspeople. The early years saw plenty of glory with gold in the 2003 Arab Championships, but he took a break from the sport for four years in 2006 due to personal reason. However, he returned a more rounded individual with an ambition to reach an Olympics. "I am really proud to be the first Judo athlete to achieve the qualification dream in Jordan,” said Ibrahim. “it took double effort, time and sacrifices but I got what I wanted." Ibrahim’s preparation plans were set in cooperation with the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC), which has supported a number of athletes this past campaign in a bid to get more to qualify. The JOC will continue their support right through the Games in Rio. He says his father is his role model in life while the man he owes it all to for introducing him the sport, Mousa is his model on a sporting level. “If you work hard you really can achieve what you want,” he said. “I hope that my efforts inspire other young people to try and qualify to future Olympics.”
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