MEET SUHAIL AZZAM, OUR ASIAN GAMES SKIER
Feb 23, 2017
Only last month Suhail Azzam answered the call to compete for Jordan at the 8th Asian Winter Games underway in Sapporo, Japan.
Before travelling to the Far East, the Jordan Olympic Committee News Service met the skiing enthusiast as he prepares to make the huge step up to international competition by competing in the slalom on Friday.
When did you first get into skiing and how did it come about?
The first time I put on a pair of skis was at the age of eight during an annual school ski trip. From that day on, I never missed an opportunity. Skiing had a lot to do with my decision to go to Colorado for college. Skiing among guys who grew up on the mountains. If I didn't keep up with them, I'd get left behind. I had to push myself, defy my limits in order to breakthrough to the next level. I skied for 3/4 days a week throughout the season for those four years.
What level of competition have you experienced?
I haven't officially competed in any major tournament so this will be very much a first for me! I've always gravitated towards off-piste skiing, (also known as powder or back-country skiing) for the sheer challenge and thrill of exploring nature and untouched powder in places that are hard to reach. It demands a true test of skill, talent, mental and physical ability. Needless to say, the off-piste terrain is unpredictable and extremely dangerous, so proper training and safety precautions are critical.
How important is it for Jordan to be competing in the Asian Winter Games?
The Asian Winter Games are increasing in popularity. Jordan competing in the games will create awareness and promote the sport amongst budding Jordanian athletes around the world. This could potentially be a stepping stone towards Olympic competition one day. Furthermore, as a country we are adding to the diverse group of nations taking part in this multi-cultural event.
What are your hopes and expectations from Sapporo?
Firstly, it’s an honour to represent my country at an event of this magnitude. I hope to represent Jordan with professionalism and respect for the sport. As this is my first time competing on an international stage, I know it will be a challenging experience and the pressure is on. However, I relish the challenge and I look forward to the race because of the work and training that I have done leading up to the games. I'm excited about being among world class athletes and representing Jordan on the pistes of Sapporo, home of the 1972 Winter Olympics!
What message do you have for other Jordanians around the world who may wish to compete in future for the Kingdom?
Skiing is a very time consuming and meticulous sport. It requires discipline, repetition, and most of all dedication. If you are currently participating in any type of winter sport, or have kids who have started a winter sport, then take it seriously. Invest in yourself and your kids. Ultimately, it is important to start early and granted you put in the time and work, you could one day have the opportunity of representing your country on an international stage. Jordan is only touching the surface and the future of Jordanian winter sports is in your hands.