I WANT TO MAKE OLYMPIC HISTORY FOR JORDAN
Nov 18, 2016
Like many teenagers crazy about sport, Ruba Al Dawoud was glued to this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The 17-year-old watched in awe as the world’s best performed on the biggest stage of them all and she still finds it hard to describe her feelings as Ahmad Abu Ghaush won gold for Jordan.
But rather than switch off the television and return to the other distractions of young life at the end of the Games, Ruba, Jordan’s top female gymnast, was inspired and is more determined than ever to become another Jordanian history maker in four years’ time.
“I followed every Jordanian athlete in Rio but in particular Ahmad who proved to us that nothing is impossible,” she said. “I was already keen to be an Olympian but his achievement has made me want it more than anything now and it will happen in 2020 in Tokyo.”
Ruba has already made a good start. Last month the high school student won the Arab Championships in Tunisia and returned home with a total medal haul of three golds and two silvers.
Those medals raised her profile as one of the Kingdom’s most promising prospects and she knows that she is heading into unchartered waters when it comes to Jordan gymnastics and the Olympics.
“No Jordanian has competed in the Olympics gymnastics before so I see that as a challenge that has to be overcome.
“I was 12 when I first came into this sport so I know how important it is to set new milestones and qualifying to be at the Olympics is one. I hope that people will follow my progress as well, particularly young girls, so that I can help to inspire more to play sport.
“Sport has helped me develop as a person both physically and mentally and it can help all of us to chase our dreams.”
Ruba was first taken to the Gymnastic Federation by her parents who described her as a “hyper-active child” but rather than just being a leisure activity to burn some energy, her talent was identified quickly.
Pointing out Romanian great Nadia Comaneci as her idol, the youngster lists hip hop music as one of her loves away from sport.
She is also humble in praising the support from Federation President HRH Princess Rhameh Bint Al Hassan, as well as Nuha Hattar, the secretary general and her coaches and support team.
Gymnastics takes a lot of guts and determination to succeed and the scars on the youngster show that she has had her fair share of knocks, but with a goal of making Olympic history for Jordan in four years’ time, this is one teenager that you will not keep down.