Diamond League: Qatar’s Budair aims to go extra mile

 02 May 2017 - 11:56

Diamond League: Qatar’s Budair aims to go extra mile
Qatar’s javelin thrower Ahmed Budair.

The Peninsula

Ahmed Budair’s story is unlike most javelin throwers.

The 21-year-old’s qualification to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was remarkably his first-ever senior participation and he was the youngest competitor in his discipline. He also became the first-ever Qatari to compete in the javelin throw at an Olympic Games.

For now, Budair has his eyes firmly set on the Doha Diamond League taking place at Qatar Sports Club on May 5, where he will go up against World and Olympic Champions Julius Yego and Thomas Röhler, respectively.

The young javelin thrower has since proven to be a formidable competitor after qualifying to Rio with an incredible throw of 84.74 meters, definitely a labour of love for Budair, who had his heart set on javelin since he was a child:

“It always fascinated me when I was a kid,” he said.

The first time I saw a javelin throw competition I was awed. I couldn’t comprehend how you could throw a javelin close to 100 meters – it left a big impression on me,” he added.

Ahmed’s natural talent was quickly identified and he soon joined Aspire Academy, a world-class sport and educational establishment based in Doha whose alumni include two-time Olympic medallist high jumper Mutaz Barshim, as well as two-time Junior World Champion and Olympian Ashraf Elseify.

“I was in high school when I joined Aspire Academy and it benefitted me in so many ways,” Budair said.

"The ability to organise my training alongside my education was vital and something that I would not have gotten anywhere else. The importance given to sport in this country is phenomenal,” he added.

“Especially since I’m a javelin thrower, we really need to incorporate science and technology in our training. I’ve definitely learned so much thanks to Aspire Academy’s biomechanical research. We need this information to develop as javelin throwers.” No amount of science is a substitute for hard work, a fact that Budair is fully aware of, training twice a day from 10am to 12:30pm and from 4pm to 6:30pm – alternating cycles between weight training, throwing, and speed training.

“One of the hardest things about the javelin throw is the improving yourself. One meter can take you years – not just one or two years, but five or more. Javelin needs speed, strength and flexibility so in a sense it’s a mixture of many disciplines.”

Budair’s gruelling training schedule, which he juggles alongside his education in Qatar University, has continued to pay dividends. The javelin thrower recently qualified to the London 2017 World Championships in Athletics during the 16th GCC Athletics Championship in Saudi Arabia. Yet he does not let his success get to his head: “I love competing against the greatest in the world,” he said, adding, “It’s the only way to improve. Sometimes it’s good to lose, as that is how you can truly learn and grow as an athlete. My biggest lesson from Rio was to keep my nerves in check – that’s the reason why I didn’t make it to the finals but thanks to that experience I can now compete against the best athletes in the world and still stay focused.”

The 2017 Doha Diamond League will mark Budair’s first ever participation in the 14-meet series, and he has his hopes set high: “Competing in the Diamond League was once just a dream for me but now it’s become a reality.” Budair said, “Now my dream has changed and I want to win the Diamond League Trophy.”

The javelin thrower’s future is growing brighter with every competition, but competing on his home turf is particularly special for him: “I’m incredibly happy that the Diamond League will be hosted in Doha because I know my friends and family will be out there supporting me from the stands – it will give me that extra push to do my absolute best and to make them happy.”

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