Rio, 3 August 2016. One can only image what thoughts went through the head of Abubaker Haydar when he crossed the finish line at the 800m event during the 2016 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha. Not only had he won the race with the 7th best time of the year 2016 over this distance, he had also qualified for the Olympics in Rio.
How time flies. Just a little over a year ago Abubaker Haydar Hassan Abdalla, born on August 29, 1996 graduated from Aspire Academy, where he had worked with coaches Carlos Cavalheiro and John Nuttall, before moving on to QAF and work with coach Jama Aden. He still remembers his first steps in track and field. “As a kid I had also played football, but my particular talent lay elsewhere: running. When I was 12 I won a 2km school cross-country race, which caught the attention of the Federation, so they invited me to train with them. Getting accepted at Aspire Academy after the Gold tests dovetailed perfectly with this phase.”
Joining Aspire Academy made a big difference in his life. “I can still remember my dad getting the call to say that I’d got a place at the Academy. I was so incredibly proud. And it was also fate; less than a month before Aspire ran the first tests of the Bronze phase at my school, Musab Bin Amir, I had started to show an interest in track and field. And it was really during these tests that I realised it wasn’t just fun, I actually had a talent for it.”
Abubaker’s performances as student athlete at Aspire Academy over the years have pointed to a successful athletic career ahead, he won a silver medal in the 1500m at the 2014 Asian Junior Championship in Taipei. Abubaker also competes at 400m, 1500m and 4x 400m relay and has notched under his belt a number of achievements in his already impressive athletics career, including a bronze medal at Asian Junior Championship and victory in Asian Indoor Championships. His special evening at Qatar Sports Club on 6 May 2016 in the Doha Diamond League went even better when Abubaker along with team mates, Abderrahman Samba, Musaeb Balla and Abdalleleh Haroun finished third in the 4x400m relay to claim bronze.
After graduating from Aspire Academy he still has close ties with his former school. “I am extremely honoured that the Academy decided to support my future journey by giving me a graduate scholarship and I will do my best that one day I can reap the benefits of all that time and energy invested in me at the Academy through good results.”
The Olympics in Rio are the next step in Abubaker’s career. But the talented 19-year-old runner already has another major event on his radar. “The IAAF World Championships in Doha 2019 are something I am really looking forward to. Winning there in front of a home crowd would be an amazing feeling.”
Follow Abubaker Haydar in Rio:
Friday, August 12: 800m RI, 10:10am, 4:10pm (Qatar)
Saturday, August 13: 800m Semi-Final, 22:05 (Brazil) / Sunday, August 14, 4:05am (Qatar)
Monday, August 15: 800m Final, 22:25pm (Brazil) / Tuesday, August 16, 4:25am (Qatar)