Jordan’s eight athletes have come in for some well-earned praise after a successful Olympic Games that saw some wonderful performances in Rio de Janeiro over the past two weeks, including the Kingdom’s first ever medal.
The ram arrives home tonight and HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, the President of the Jordan Olympic Committee, has called the delegation the “pride of Jordan” for not just their performances but the way they conducted themselves on the biggest sporting stage of them all.
“The Olympic Games represent a celebration of humanity and all of us in Jordan can celebrate the success of our delegation,” said HRH Prince Feisal, who contacted every athlete after each of their competitions to provide support and encouragement.
“They performed magnificently in their events and in particular congratulations to Ahmad Abu Ghoush for his gold medal. He is our hero, as is the whole team.
They are all the pride of Jordan and consistently showed both the Olympic and Jordanian spirit throughout these Games. I am looking forward to welcoming them back.” Abu Ghoush, 20, made history with his gold medal in the taekwondo -68kg category to spark a mass national celebration back home.
But there were other achievements and Olympic firsts elsewhere. Brother and sister Khader and Talita Baqlah set new Jordan records in their swimming events, with 17-year-old Khader ranked the No. 1 U18 swimmer in the 200m freestyle.
Hussein Ishaiash showed tremendous courage to reach the quarter-finals of the super heavyweight boxing, losing narrowly to eventual gold medallist Tony Yoka, of France.
There were Jordanian Olympic debuts in judo, where Ibrahim Khalaf fought well, and triathlon, where Lawrence Fanous finished 46th and declared this as a “start for Jordan’s participation at the Olympics in the sport”.
Obada Al Kesbeh, 21, suffered a narrow defeat in the 63kg boxing but showed his great potential that the best is yet to come, while Mithqal Abu Drais refused to give up during a gruelling marathon that ended with a standing ovation as he crossed the line on the final day.
After which he declared that he will immediately start planning for Tokyo 2020 where he says “I can finish in the top 20”.
All in all, it was without doubt Jordan’s most successful Games and with several young sportsmen and women already lined up for the next edition in four years’ time, there is every reason why Abu Ghaush’s gold can be described as the game changer for sport in the Kingdom.
A public celebration is expected to be held in Al Hussein Park on Friday with details to be announced.