Jordan will compete in six sports at the Olympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro from August 5, but the role of the Kingdom’s athletes will be much more important than going for gold according to Lana Al Jaghbeer, Secretary General of the Jordan Olympic Committee.
The delegation is flying to Brazil in good spirits following intensive training camps over the past month and they received their final briefing session at the JOC on Tuesday ahead of their long journey to South America.
Jordan will feature in swimming, athletics, taekwondo, boxing, judo and triathlon during the two-week multi-sport extravaganza and the delegation has received a strong message of support from the JOC.
“On behalf of the entire Jordanian sporting family, I wish these athletes well in representing us on the world’s greatest sporting stage,” said Al Jaghbeer.
“The Olympic Games represents the highlight in any athlete’s career and I urge our young men and women to cherish every moment and make positive memories that will last a lifetime.
“The only expectations we place on them is to be excellent ambassadors for Jordan. To reach an Olympic Games is a huge achievement in itself and I can only ask them to try their very best and to make us proud.”
The JOC has worked closely with its federations over the past four years to firstly identify, and then to support potential Olympians in their bids to secure spots for Rio.
The delegation will see Talita Baqlah, 20, become the first swimmer to compete at two Olympic Games, while her brother Khader, 17, is the first Jordanian swimmer to compete at a Games having achieved a B qualification time.
Ahmad Abu Ghaush, 20, continues Jordan’s great Olympic tradition in taekwondo, while Hussein Ishaiash, 20, and Obada Al Kesbeh line-up in the boxing. Lawrence Fanous, 30, will become the first Jordanian to take part in the triathlon while Ibrahim Khalaf, 30, will compete in judo. Mithqal Abu Drais, 32 will take part in his second Olympic marathon.
The team departs for Rio over the coming days to help them acclimatise to the conditions. They will be based in the Olympic Village, along with their Chef de Mission Nadin Dawani, herself a three-time Olympian in taekwondo.
The Olympic Games will welcome 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees to compete in 28 sports. The event will launch with the Opening Ceremony on August 5 and run through to the Closing Ceremony on August 21.
Who are our 2016 Olympians?
Sport: Swimmer (200m freestyle)
DOB: September 17, 1998
Achievements: Olympic B times in 100m and 200m; three silvers in Asian Youth Championships; Black Iris Sports Awards Young Achiever 2015
Rio hopes: Improve my worldwide ranking and set a new personal best
Ahmad Abu Ghaush
Sport: Taekwondo (-68kg)
DOB: February 1, 1996
Achievements: 2012 World Junior Champion; 2012 Asian Junior Champion; 2016 Asian Olympic qualifying gold; 2012 Black Iris Sportsman of the Year
Rio hopes: I will do my best and hope that it is good enough to secure a medal
Sport: Judo (90kg)
DOB: July 9, 1986
Achievements: 2016 Asian Bronze, 2013 Arab Championship Silver, 2003 Arab Youth Champion
Rio hopes: I hope to represent Jordan in the best way possible.
Mithqal Abu Drais
DOB: December 12, 1983
Born: Al Salt
Achievements: Second time Olympic qualifying with new Jordan record
Rio hopes: I hope to finish as high as possible to represent Jordan in the best way I can
Sport: Swimming (50m freestyle)
Date of birth: October 27, 1995
Achievements: Second Olympic Games; Arab Champion in 50m, 100m, and 50m fly; Jordan record holder for 50m
Rio hopes: To improve worldwide ranking and to try and set a new 50m Jordan record
DOB: August 27, 1985
Achievements: Arab Champion (twice), International Triathlon Podiums (three time), 7th at Asian Games 2014
Rio hopes: Finish in the top 30
Sport: Boxing (+91kg)
DOB: August 6, 1995
Born: Al Salt
Achievements: 2014 Asian Games bronze, 2016 Olympic qualifiers Bronze
Rio hopes: I will try my best and take it one fight at a time
Obada Al Kesbeh
Sport: Boxing (64kg)
DOB: July 30, 1994
Achievements: 2013 Asian Silver; 2014 Asian Games Bronze
Rio hopes: To take it one fight at a time and make Jordan proud