Doha, 28 July 2016. Aspire Academy student-athlete Moaaz Mohamed Ibrahim claimed gold in discus at the IAAF World U-20 Championships held in Poland 19-24 July with a winning throw of 63.63m. It was the second gold medal of the championship for Qatar and sees Moaaz complete a hat-trick of golds in a season during which he won the same even at Arab Championships in Algeria in May, followed by victory at Asian Junior Championship in Vietnam in June. After his victory in Poland, Moaaz shared about his experience and the future in an interview.
How important was winning the World U-20 Championship in Poland to you? After all the good results that you had achieved before this event, was it a result you personally expected from yourself? In other words: Would you have been disappointed if it had not been gold?
Moaaz: This competition was the most important one to me at this stage of my athletic career. Becoming world champion has always been a dream of mine and, let me tell you, it’s just an amazing feeling when dreams come true. I didn't go into this competition expecting any particular result. I just wanted to give my best as always and see where it would take me. Only if I had not put all my efforts into the competition, I would have been disappointed.
In the interview you did with IAAF right after the victory in Poland, you said, “Next year l will surprise you”. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you meant by that?
Moaaz: I have to turn 18 years to become a junior athlete. Only then I will be eligible to compete in senior competitions. Right now I’m still 17, so I have to wait a few months, but I am really looking forward to compete with the world’s senior elite in discus throwing.
You work with Aspire Academy senior throws coach Ivica Jakeljic and his team, what does he do to get the best out you and what is it like training at Aspire Academy?
Moaaz: My coach believes in me and my ability, he knows me well and how to motivate me. He always pushes me to do my best. When l struggle, he reminds me that are always going to be tough times that you have to overcome in a sporting career and helps me to overcome obstacles. And I couldn’t have asked for a better place to train, learn and grow as a person and an athlete than Aspire Academy. l am where l am because of the great support of Aspire Academy and I promise that there is more still to come.
You are also a shot putter of note, at 17 have you decided on which event to concentrate on between the two as yet or you intend to do both?
Moaaz: Yes, that’s true. However, my coach and l have decided that we will focus and give attention to discus for now, but who knows what we might do in the future.
How did you get into athletics in the first place? What makes it more interesting for you instead of, for instance, playing football?
Moaaz: I have always loved athletics and I already started with it in primary school. I think it’s very important for an athlete or for anything you do, that you have a passion for it. Otherwise I believe it would be much harder to always give a hundred percent. l knew athletics was my thing and I simply love throwing a discus. The further, the better.
You are a student at Aspire Academy, how have you found the place as a home and school which prepares you for your sports career and life ahead?
Moaaz: Aspire Academy is my second home and it's the best place ever to be a champion.
Do you have a role model and if so, why that specific one?
Moaaz: Yes, l do. First of all, I look up to my dad. He is my role model in terms of personality, respect and how to communicate with people in general. In terms of sport, it’s Gerd Kantar because of the way he trains and because he always gives his best at every event.
Looking ahead to next year and the future what are your goals and what would you like to achieve?
Moaaz: As I said before, l am excited about the future and participating in more competitions. Making the next step to senior level is also an important stage and I hope to do well when it comes to that. In terms of results, I want to keep winning gold in competitions. I know it will get harder the higher the level gets, but I believe in God, my coach and that nothing is impossible.