One of Jordan’s big hopes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has revealed that superstar Jackie Chan is providing the inspiration to him becoming one of the world’s best.
Taekwondo star, Saleh Al Sharabti has risen to prominence this year with some super performances, and hopes to follow Ahmad Abu Ghaush all the way to the top of the podium on the biggest stage of them all. “I grew up copying Jackie Chan and trying to be like him,” said Al Sharabati.
“My father saw that I loved it so much and encouraged me to try Taekwondo.”
He was only seven years old at the time but it started a love affair that has become stronger as his technique improved.
“I fell in love with Taekwondo once I saw the mat,” he said.
“No one from my family had seen a Taekwondo player before, so that was another motivator for me to play hard.”
Sadly, his father passed away, and the impact resulted in Al Sharabati stopping the sport for four years, but his mother convinced him to return in 2015 with the focus to become one of the country’s best.
“I competed in the national championship and reached the final but lost by one point,” he recalls.
“That defeat made me train much harder and the following year I took gold and joined that national team.”
He made an early impact on the international scene with bronze in his very first overseas participation in Egypt in 2016, and the -80kg fighter has since won gold in Bulgaria and back in Egypt to enhance his Olympic ranking to 53rd place.
“I'm so happy with my progress, but I am also looking for more achievements to be able to compete in the next Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.”
Al Sharabati has been included on the JOC’s Olympic Preparation Programme which he said has improved his chances of reaching Tokyo due to the professionalism of the Olympic Preparations Centre which he described as “the future of Jordan sport”.
The 19-year-old Marketing student is pursuing his dream, and recalls the moment that his Taekwondo teammate Ahmad Abu Ghaush made all Jordanians’ dreams come true by winning gold at Rio 2016.
“I keep remembering that moment when Ahmad made the world stand on their feet, I will fight to live this moment,” he said.