BEIRUT: As the best male track and field athlete in the country, Lebanese hurdler Ahmad Hazer has plenty to look forward to when he competes in the 2012 Olympic Games in the 110m hurdles.
The 23-year-old has high expectations for the London Games and has promised his fellow Lebanese he will break his personal record of 14.37 seconds in the 110m hurdles, and make the final round on the sport’s biggest stage.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Hazer said it was his dream to compete in his first Olympics in London.
“I reached this stage after years of hard work and dedication. I break most of the [national] records in this category, therefore I was awarded a wild card by the Lebanese track and field federation to represent Lebanon [at the London Games].
“I have trained lately in the Czech Republic with my brother Ali, and without any coach. I stayed there for around 20 days. It was a very important camp in different aspects, especially to get used to the nature of the weather and altitude above sea,” he said.
“After that, I came back to Lebanon and I have been practicing two times a day, under the supervision of Ansar Club coach Imad El-Din al-Laymoune, and I have been following a special diet. Hopefully, I am looking to break my previous record [14.37 s], and I’ll try my best to finish under 14 seconds.”
Hazer, who holds more than 15 national records, said he feels no pressure going into the biggest sporting event in the world, despite competing alongside extraordinary stars.
“I feel very motivated and enthusiastic, and I can feel the support coming from everywhere, especially from my family. My sister will go to London to support, and my cousin who already lives there will be there too,” Hazer said.
“I hope that if we want to learn something at the London Olympics, it is that sport is varied and not only about football or basketball. Nowadays most of the advanced countries put more hopes on individual sports than team sports.
“Here [in Lebanon], we face obstacles in matching the global level, as we don’t have all the equipment for that matter. And the equipment we do have is already hidden in the warehouse and cannot be used by the Lebanese athletes for unknown reasons,” Hazer revealed.