Rio, 2 August 2016. Part of Qatar’s biggest Olympic team in history is the double World Junior Champion in the hammer throw, Ashraf Elseify. Since 2012, the graduate of Aspire Academy has held the world record for the Under-20 men’s outdoor 6 kg hammer throw. The mission for Rio? “We want to achieve something great for Qatar, raise its flag at the Olympics, and make Qataris proud.”
Ashraf El-Seify was born on February 20, 1995 and growing up it became more and more obvious, that he possesses the ideal physical characteristics for throws in track and field, which in the end made him choose hammer throwing as his event. Of course, as a kid he did not go straight to hammer throwing, but Ashraf took a liking to sport from an early age, thanks to his father who used to take him to the stadium to watch football. “I really enjoyed it and when he passed away, my older sister stepped in and took me there. My five brothers and two sisters have always been into sports and played football, volleyball or track and field.”
After trying a number of sports while growing up, he discovered hammer throwing. In his own words Ashraf says, “It is the kind of track and field event that challenges you day after day. Unless you give your absolute best in every training session, you don’t stand a chance internally”. Upon joining Aspire Academy the budding talent he possesses was nurtured and grown with the assistance of coach, Alexey Malyukov (QAF), who believes in what he called, “huge potential” that is in Ashraf as well as his brother Ahmed who like Ashraf is also a hammer thrower.
His greatest achievements to date include winning Gold medal at the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships 2012 in Barcelona, Spain with a record-breaking throw of 85.57m and then again at the 15th IAAF World Junior Championships 2014 in Eugene, USA. In the process, he became the first athlete in the history of the World Junior Athletics Championships to successfully defend his title. Ashraf took Gold at the Asian Junior Championships 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka and finished 10th at the 2013 Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, India.
Ashraf fondly remembers the euphoria and excitement that followed his record breaking throw at the World Junior Championship in Barcelona, “It was overwhelming, l received loads of messages and my mum was crying with joy on the telephone. The Emir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani called to congratulate me.” Of course, success comes with responsibility and Ashraf is well aware that he has become an ambassador for Qatar. “I owe a lot to this country and I have the Qatar Athletics Federation and Aspire Academy to thank for my development. I am very proud to be able to pay back that support in the form of good performances.”
After finishing in the top 10 at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Athletics held in Beijing, China in 2015, Ashraf heads to Rio keen to challenge for honours and fulfill his words back in 2013 when he said, “First l have to establish myself at senior level. Once l have done that, l can start setting new goals”. And one gets the feeling that Rio is for Ashraf just the first of many big events to come…
Follow Ashraf El-Seify in Rio:
Wednesday, August 17: Hammer Q A or B, 9:40am or 11:05am (Brazil), 3:40pm or 5:05pm (Qatar)
Friday, August 19: Hammer Final, 21:05pm (Brazil) / Saturday, August 20, 3:05am (Qatar)