The UAE’s best swimmer is hoping his recent exploits will help motivate him and others in the sport.
Obaid Al Jasmi, a two-time former UAE Olympian returned with two bronze medals after the First Asian Masters Swimming Championships that was held in Nagoya, Japan last week.
Al Jasmi opened with a bronze in the 200 metres individual medley and then added a second the following day with a third place in the 50 metres butterfly. The 36-year-old Al Jasmi missed out on another two medals in the 200 metres butterfly and 200 metres freestyle on the next two days.
“Ultimately it is about an ageing body. With the bare little preparations that I went through before the event I was able to hold out for the first two days. After that it was always going to be a tough task. But despite all this, I am really proud of what I have achieved,” Al Jasmi told Gulf News.
“Had I been better prepared then I could have perhaps returned with medals in all the races I participated in. But then this is very much part of the experience and learning for me for the future,” he added.
Born on August 9, 1981 in Abu Dhabi, Al Jasmi represented the UAE at the Olympic Games in 2004 (Athens) and 2008 (Beijing). He tried qualifying for a third straight Olympic Games but failed to make the cut for London 2012. He was also a member of the UAE squad for the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games while participating in three World Championships between 2007 and 2011.
Along with his three younger brothers, Saeed, Bakhit and Faisal, Al Jasmi created a unique world record when they competed as a quartet in the 4x100 metres freestyle relay during the 2010 Fina Short Course World Championships hosted in Dubai. The UAE team finished 14th best in the relay with a time of 3 minutes, 35.72 seconds.
“With age nothing gets easier. It was a bit hard on the last two days, and this was to be expected simply because I did not have the most ideal preparations heading to Japan,” Al Jasmi related.
“I consider my feat quite an achievement and this was further endorsed by the fact that I could have won another two medals. I am sure this event and my medals can inspire not just myself for the future, but also a host of other swimmers of my generation,” he added.
“I think I can be more competitive on the Masters stage, provided I can keep myself motivated throughout. I cannot see any one from the current national squad swimming anything close to what I have done during the past week. Overall I am happy with what I have achieved and I hope that this will motivate me to continue swimming and will also help other swimmers from the UAE to seriously consider a career beyond their competitive years,” Al Jasmi stressed.