Jordan’s glorious Olympic Games have missed out on a record-breaking climax after the wet weather hit Mithqal Abu Drais’s chances of setting a new national mark in the men’s marathon.
The popular 32-year-old covered the 42km course through the streets of Rio de Janeiro in a time of two hours 46 minutes and 18 seconds, below his previous best of 2:17.24 set last year in Morocco.
“That was an amazing reception I got at the finish line but I found it very hard going throughout the race,” said Abu Drais at the finish line.
“This is my second Olympics so I was a little more relaxed coming into it which helped me a lot and I have trained as best as I could. But then the weather this morning was harsh and I struggled with the pace but I was determined to finish as a lot of runners dropped out. “If it was 100kms long today I would have finished for Jordan. Nothing was going to stop me.
“It rained heavily throughout the race. I am not used to this and had trained for hot and dry weather which it has mostly been since we got here. But today, luck wasn’t with me and it rained heavily and it was a tough course.
“I did my very best but it just wasn’t to be. To be here though was an honour. I am proud to have represented Jordan at the Olympics again and I want to thank everyone in Jordan for all of the support I have received.”
The Jordanian started from the back of the pack and paced himself steadily. He covered 10kms in 36.53minutes but as the rain continued, he found the race’s pace too quick, dropping off to the back of the field. But he was determined to finish despite the elements and he went through the half marathon stage at 1:15.97.
He received a massive reception at the finish as the crowd rose to its feet to welcome him across the line in the Rio rain.
The race was won by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in 2:08.44, and the Jordan delegation can now look forward to the Closing Ceremony tonight ahead of flying back tomorrow (Monday) to a heroes’ welcome on Tuesday in Amman.