Dubai: UAE triple jumper Mohammad Abbas has his sights set on achieving a personal best at the London Olympics — despite having only three months’ serious practice for the Games.
One of the reasons Abbas could not sustain his Olympic preparations is because athletes in the UAE are required to honour their commitment to clubs in domestic competitions held throughout the season.
It was only after the domestic season ended that Abbas was in a position to travel to Bulgaria for a training camp, which included participation in six competitions. After that, he went to Greece for another two competitions before returning to the UAE earlier this week.
Abbas said he will be striving to better his current best jump of 16.80 metres on the biggest possible stage despite his lack of training.
“Athletes all over the world have put in years of practice as they approach an Olympic Games, but I have had just three months of real serious preparations,” Abbas, 26, told Gulf News as he trained at the Al Wasl Club’s track.
“I would have loved to be more prepared than now but, given the conditions and the circumstances, all I want to do now is set a personal best mark at the Games,” he added.
Abbas, who took up the sport only three years ago, is one of two athletes from the UAE to have qualified to participate in track and field at the London Olympics. While Abbas will be competing in the triple jump, Betlhem Deslagn Belayneh will be taking part in the women’s 1,500m run.
The UAE Olympian said he had been greatly encouraged by his performances at the training camps.
He said: “The experiences during these competitions have given me a good feeling inside. But I wish I had some more time to prepare myself as this is my first time at an Olympic Games. Now I have to face the reality and proceed to London and give my best during the competition.”
“The good thing is that I have been feeling good physically and mentally, and I hope I can keep to my form and cross the 17-metre mark in London,” he said. “That sort of distance should be good enough to give me a place in the final and, after that, anything is possible.”
Abbas’ Bulgarian coach Svetoslav Topuzov also is not too pleased with the way things have gone with the athlete during his build-up to an important event like the Olympics. “Until February, we were unable to get proper training sessions. So whatever we have done from March until now is what we go with to London,” he lamented.
“I suppose we’ve done the best we can and the goal will be to ensure that he at least makes it to the final. If he does achieve this, then anything can happen from there on,” Topuzov added.
“After that there are many more events lined up for him. Next year there are the Arab Games followed by the Asian Games in 2014, and after that will be the 2016 Rio Olympics. This is his first Olympic Games and he needs to gain as much experience as he can. That is the focus at the moment.”