One of the names on the lips of Jordan sports fans this year has been sprinter Aliya Bushnaq who has burst on the scene with stunning effect.
The fastest female teenager ever produced by Jordan has never looked back since making the switch from Gymnastics to Athletics and following a glorious 2017, the 17-year-old can confidently look ahead to a bid to qualify for the next Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
The youngster became the first Jordanian female to qualify through to the IAAF World Youth Championship held in Kenya after impressing in the 200m and 400m in the Asian version.
It is not surprising that she is now talking up her chances of realising her Olympic dream.
“Everything turned on its head when I took up Athletics in school which I practiced alongside Gymnastics, a sport I had done for some time,” said Aliya.
“But obviously Athletics started to take a priority and now I am dedicated to the sport, which paid off this year.”
And what a year it was too. A year that she said she “didn’t expect” and one that has made her one the hottest talents in the Arab World.
“I was informed quite late that I would be competing in Bangkok for the Asian Juniors, so I just gave it my all and managed to qualify through to the Worlds!
“It was something like a dream came true. It’s the place where the best in the World compete against you, so I learned a lot from there and want to taste it again many more times.”
On a regional level this year she blazed to glory by winning gold in the 200 and 400m at the Arab Junior Championships, setting new records in both disciplines.
And undoubtedly the best is yet to come with the big prize of Tokyo central to her plans.
“I have a big dream and I will run as much as I can for it. It’s Tokyo 2020 and I want to create a new history for my sport, just like what Abu Ghaush did for Taekwondo.”