The man who oversaw Jordan’s finest ever sporting moment has revealed his plans for bringing even more success to his country. Faris Al Assaf was the coach to Ahmad Abu Ghaush who won Jordan’s first medal, gold in Taekwondo, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The sport has always been one of Jordan’s strongest, and Abu Ghaush’s incredible achievement showed that we are capable of competing with the best. But Al Assaf, now in his role of national head coach, knows that more must be done to bring more glory and to show that Jordan is not just a one-man team. “There are many things we need to achieve this year,” said Al Assaf. “In order to continue improving our athletes and coaches we need to keep working hard and moving forward so we have more fighters at Tokyo 2020 (next Olympics). “We have a very busy 2018 planned. We have the Asian Championships in Vietnam and the Asian Games in Indonesia; these are two major events that will enhance our rankings so we will train well for them and be ready.” Chosen as the best Arab sports coach in 2017, Al Assaf has revealed ambitious targets and that includes having three fighters to qualify for the prestigious World Prix series. He has put an onus on youth, and says he wants Jordanian fighters qualifying through to the Youth Olympics later this year in Buenos Aires. “We have six juniors bidding for a place at the Youth Olympics,” he said. “We have a plan in place, starting with a qualifier in Tunisia in April. There will also be a camp in Turkey, including a championship there.” Al Assaf said that while Abu Ghaush continues to grab the headlines, his ongoing success across the world is inspiring his teammates and the next generation to be their best. “Ahmad has proved to every Jordanian that with hard work, you can succeed and be the best. Now there is a huge buzz and big interest in the sport. We have to work hard to keep the success going.” The juniors have been training alongside the seniors, a scenario that Al Assaf said will benefit the youngsters as they step up their competition.
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