BLACK IRIS WIN CAN SPUR ME ON TO TOKYO 2020
Apr 23, 2016
Taleen Al Humaidi may seem like any other high school kid preparing for her next phase of life as a university student.
But Taleen is no ordinary 18-year-old. She is an 18-year-old on a four-year-mission which she hopes will lead to qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
“I believe in the saying ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ so I have my heart set on reaching the Olympics in Tokyo,” said the 2015 Black Iris Sports Awards Young Achiever (female).
“Winning the Black Iris was an exceptional feeling as it is the Jordan Sports Oscars. It gave me more belief in myself now that the people here are behind me.
“It also brings a responsibility as more people are now following my progress so I hope to make them proud of me by reaching Tokyo in four years. I will fight for that dream.”
Taleen won the award courtesy of taking bronze at the 2015 Asian Championships despite being the youngest fighter in her weight.
But despite her young age, she is an experienced fighter having taken up the sport before her teen years.
"Like many sports, taekwondo increases self-confidence," she said. "It makes you a different and better person. I saw this in my brother Laurence who was playing taekwondo first and I liked it so I gave it a go."
After joining Al Fares Club, she soon advanced through the belts and reached the national youth team in 2013 before graduating to the seniors.
“There is nothing like representing your country overseas,” she said.
Honours followed, firstly at the Arab Championships in Jordan, and then further afield, culminating in last year’s memorable bronze in the Asian Championships held in Taiwan.
“I won in the last three seconds,” she remembers. “I had been through a lot of tough matches but somehow dug deep to win at the end of the bronze match. It was exceptional and I will never forget it.”
Unfortunately her high school commitments meant she would not be pursuing a place for Rio this summer but allows her time to mature for Japan in four years.
“Who doesn’t want to be in the Olympic Team,” she said. “It’s an obsession for me and I will fight for it.”
She does not have to look far for inspiration with Dana Haider Touran her favourite athlete. Dana won silver for Jordan in the world championships but then cruelly missed out on the London 2012 Olympics due to injury.
Taleen too is not averse to disappointment having injured herself during the 2014 Asian Championship in Indonesia, but she bounced back stronger.
Away from training and competition, Taleen says she enjoys playing basketball with friends and sends a strong message to youngsters, particularly girls, trying to achieve anything in life.
“You have to work to make your dreams come true,” she said. “Losing doesn’t mean the end, you can try again and again, but you have to train and work harder each time.”
Before signing off, the modest youngster wanted to say a special thanks to those that have believed in her and also the many thousands that voted for her to win the Black Iris Sports Award.
“The support gives me the strength to carry on and work harder and I cannot thank everyone enough for getting behind me. I won’t let you down,” she said.