Members and athletes from Jordan’s Olympic association recently said that since King Abdullah’s Accession to the Throne, the sport of taekwondo has grown in popularity in Jordan.
Naser Majali, secretary general of the Jordan Olympic Committee, said King Abdullah’s support has helped improve athletes’ performance and devotion.
“The achievements of this sport during the era of His Majesty did not only include medals, but also increased interest in the game among Jordanian youth, in addition to an increase in the number of taekwondo centres in the Kingdom,” he told The Jordan Times during a recent interview.
Jordanian athlete Ahmad Abu Ghoush, who captured Jordan’s first Olympic medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, told The Jordan Times that he would “never forget” a phone call he received from King Abdullah following his Olympic win.
During a previous interview with The Jordan Times, Majali said that Abu Ghoush’s achievement had inspired many young Jordanians to follow in his footsteps, with 50,000 taekwondo robes sold in the country during the three months after the event.
Jordanian women have also made strides in taekwondo.
Juliana Sadiq became the first female Arab athlete to win a gold medal at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia last year.
Sadiq described the Royal family’s support as a source of motivation to continue to achieve more.
She also said she hoped her fellow female athletes could be a source of inspiration for Jordanian girls.
“Female achievements in sports in general [have] encouraged more girls to join sports, especially martial arts,” she added.
Sadiq stressed that recently many Jordanian families have opened up to the idea of women participating in sports like taekwondo.
Majali also noted that the recently established Olympic Preparation Centre has had a positive impact on the taekwondo scene in Jordan, with the number of participating athletes on the rise thanks to the centre’s services.
Now, Jordanian athletes’ attention are on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, with many of them hoping to either participate in the Olympics for the first time, or win gold medals, Majali said.
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