Jordanian gold medalist returns home to a hero’s welcome

Published August 24th, 2016 - 12:20 GMT
Jordanian Prince Faisal bin al-Hussein (3L) poses for a photo with Ahmed Abughaush (3R) who won the men's 68-kg taekwondo competition at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro during a welcome ceremony upon his arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman on August 23, 2016. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordanian Prince Faisal bin al-Hussein (3L) poses for a photo with Ahmed Abughaush (3R) who won the men's 68-kg taekwondo competition at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro during a welcome ceremony upon his arrival at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman on August 23, 2016. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

Royal family members, family and fans late Tuesday received Ahmad Abu Ghaush, who won gold in the taekwondo -68kg event at the Rio Olympics.

Their Royal Highnesses Prince Hassan, president of the Higher Council for Self-Defence Sports, Prince Feisal, president of the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC), and HRH Prince Rashid, president of the Jordanian Taekwondo Federation, welcomed the gold medal winner as his plane landed at the Queen Alia International Airport, along with members of the Olympic team and his coach, Fares Assaf. 

An army music band was playing as the crowd cheered.  

Asked by The Jordan Times upon his arrival how he felt about the win and arriving home to a warm welcome, he said: “When I see all these people coming to welcome me, I feel so proud that I made so many people happy in my country.”  

The achievement meant a lot to him, especially since he beat three medal winners on his road to gold.

The next step is to defend his title in Tokyo at 2020 Olympic games and keep the gold for Jordan, he said. 

His coach Assaf said: “We hope that this achievement would be the beginning of more and more achievements for Jordan.”

Asked if Jordan’s chances were stronger in individual sports, the coach said he encouraged young people to focus on individual sports in general, and Taekwondo in particular for that reason. 

A Royal Court statement quoted the three princes as expressing their pride in the achievement and appreciation for the efforts paid by the Olympic team in Rio, while the athletes thanked “broader Jordanian family, led by His Majesty King Abdullah, for their support during the contests at the Olympics”.

Abu Gaush and his colleagues were accompanied to Al Hussein Youth City for a special celebration.

The JOC plans a main event to celebrate the champion and his achievement at King Hussein Park in Amman on Friday, it was announced.

Jordanians woke up Friday to the good news of the gold medal, the first in the history of Jordan’s participations at Olympic games.

The 20-year-old business student, the youngest competitor in the division, won the final at dawn last Friday, late Thursday Rio Time, after beating Russia’s Alexey Denisenko 10-6.

He qualified to the title match late Thursday after winning the fight with Spain’s 2012 London gold medallist Joel González 12-7.

His Majesty King Abdullah called the champion after the game and voiced his “happiness with the distinguished sports achievement, congratulating Abu Ghaush for the historic victory that raised the name of Jordan high at the Olympic games”, according to a Royal Court statement on Friday.

HRH Crown Prince Hussein also called the champion and congratulated him.

Her Majesty Queen Rania took to social media platforms to share her joy over the achievement with Jordanians.

By Muath Freij


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