The Jordan Olympic Committee has caught up this week with one of the country’s rising stars of sport.
At 18, Mohammad Al Sarraj has proved himself in squash at the junior level and despite still qualifying for the age group competitions, he has already announced himself on the senior stage with two victories at the tail end of 2016 on the Professional Squash Tour.
The first in his home city of Amman in November was followed up by a second in Slovakia. A runner-up in Germany and a semi-final spot in France were sandwiched in between.
That form has already seen him rise to 148 in the world, just one place behind his 21-year-old brother Ahmad.
“I am from a sporting family which encouraged me to play sport from a very young age,” said Mohammad. “My father was a football player and my mother was a volleyball player. I was always playing with my brother Ahmad to have fun and to stay away from the streets or anything else that could affect us negatively.
“It was clear that we had talent for the sport at a young age so we got serious with our training and started to compete in tournaments.”
A step up to the professional tour though takes much more dedication and Mohammad revealed that he now trains three times every single day, except Fridays.
“I start my first session at 5am, followed at 12pm and then a final session at 5pm or 6pm,” he said.
“It sounds tough but I have a lot of fun playing squash. I always make sure, though, that I strike the right balance and have time to spend with my friends, so I have a life away from sport.”
So with strong foundations in place, Mohammad is ready for an assault on the world rankings in 2017. But first there is one last target in the juniors.
“I will participate in the Juniors World Championships in New Zealand in July for the last time. I really believe I can win it before I fully move on to the seniors.
“But my main goal for this year is to improve my world ranking in the men’s level. I believe I can reach the top 40 if I stay injury free as I am entering a number of tournaments.”
Mohammad will launch his year by competing in the 18th Asian Junior Team Championships in Hong Kong from February 1-5 before moving on to Egypt for the Arab Championships. He will then join the professional tour with an event in Sweden.
His busy schedule will keep him away from his homeland for much of the year but we are sure that Jordan will be enjoying plenty of good news from his travels.