Three years ago, most Jordanians would be hard pressed to name a national sportsman or woman outside of football, but there is one name that will instantly come to mind since that historic day in 2016.
Ahmed Abu Ghaush became an overnight sensation by winning Jordan’s first ever Olympic medal at the Rio Olympic Games when he took the Taekwondo world by storm and dominated his weight all the way to gold.
He had come from nowhere to lift the Kingdom’s spirits with a performance that we have never seen before, and his life has been one big rollercoaster of emotions since!
When did your love affair with Taekwondo begin?
I began to play Taekwondo at the age of six when I joined a local Taekwondo centre with the support from my family. They saw I was always playing at home and they felt it was a good way for me to burn some energy! I loved it so much from the beginning.
What was the first international tournament you entered, and how did you do?
My first international tournament was in Egypt in 2010, when I was 14, as part of the national team for juniors. I won my six fights and achieved the gold medal. It was a memorable moment for me. I benefited from this experience and it gave me the incentive to continue the pursuit of my dreams and my aspirations in the sport . On
August 19, 2016, you made history for Jordan by winning our first Olympic gold, can you recall your memories from that date?
It was the most beautiful moment in my life. All the people were very happy that night, the atmosphere in Rio was incredible. I cannot describe that moment. My phone did not stop ringing with congratulations. To top it all off I received a phone call from His Majesty which then really made me realise the magnitude of the achievement. That call meant so much to me.
How has life changed for you since?
My life completely changed after Rio. So many people are now following my results at international championships. They are expecting me to win every tournament I enter so that responsibility has brought extra pressure now. But it also encourages me to train harder and be my best for every tournament that I enter.
What have been your toughest career challenges?
I stopped playing for two years when I was a teenager after breaking my pelvis and damaging the cruciate ligament on my left knee. But, thank God, I managed to overcome this obstacle and succeeded in winning the Olympic gold. I suffered injuries again last year, which was very difficult for me to take with a broken rib and more muscle problems, but again I recovered and became fully fit.
What does Abu Ghaush dream about now?
I started this year very well with gold medals in Fujairah and Turkey, so now I'm preparing to participate in the World Championships in May. I am determined to try and win the gold medal, and become the first Jordanian to do so. I won bronze in 2017, but I am determined to go all the way this time.