4 minute read

Athletes are like any another ambassador of peace and love

My story continues

Since my story is different, like everyone else’s, as we are all unique people, getting a visa to travel to Jordan was hard for me. To make the long story short, trying to enter Jordan as a Syrian passport holder was a very stressful situation! I was lucky this time.

Syrians used to be able to enter Jordan with no visa but now it’s almost impossible for Syrians to enter any country! I would like to thank the Jordanian Olympic Committee for helping me and my fellow teammates compete in beautiful Jordan. I have the same beliefs as the Jordan sport committee does: that athletes are like any another ambassador of peace and love.

Traveling to Jordan

I left Montreal on Monday November 14th at 3:00pm. I was so excited, not only about the race but also that I was going to get to meet my mom in Jordan who I hadn’t seen in 6 years. It was a very emotional moment for me! I am grateful for my triathlon family and supporters who helped make that happen, thank you all!

It was a very emotional moment for me

I arrived in Amman City on Tuesday November 15th at 9:00am. It was a very long flight! Then it was a drive from Amman airport to Aqaba City. I arrived at the hotel at 3:00pm, I ate dinner around 6pm and then slept. Overall, a very long day of travelling!

There is a 6 hour time difference between Aqaba City and Montreal. It took me 3 days to adjust to the time change and recover. I still remember waking up at 3am on Wednesday and going to sleep at 10pm, only to awake at 1am. Finally on Friday I woke up at 6am and felt almost like normal! I was lucky that I didn’t get sick due to weather changes between Canada and Jordan, oufff!

It was again great to meet new athletes, coaches and managers. These are very important moments for me, when people get to sit together, talk and share their stories. It's quite the opportunity to learn from different cultures and mentalities.

 

Mo with a few triathletes from Jordan

 

Mo hydrating

Race recap

My race was a 9am start on Friday November 18th. I woke up feeling good feeling and knowing it would be an exciting race with lots of learning opportunities. I enjoyed it very much, indeed.

We were 19 athletes from Slovenia, Jordan, Bahrain, Czech Republic, Palestine, Iran, Emirates, and Syria. The Middle East has been doing well in the triathlon field for the past 5 years, as there has been a lot of Arab counties forming triathlon teams with the goal of build the young generation, and especially in Bahrain!  My performance was pretty good compared to my last race in Ecuador. I exited the water safely in the front pack feeling good and ready for bike leg.

My T1 went smoothly. We were only 5 athletes in the front pack (2 Slovenians, Olympian Lawrence Fanous from Jordan, and Thomas from the Czech Republic). The bike started very well too, until Fanous did a smart move on one steep hill, which caused me and Thomas to drop off the pack. I finished my bike leg with sore heavy legs due strong winds reaching 30km/h. It was a technical course with some hills, quite a learning experience on the bike!

During my previous race in Ecuador, I made the mistake of trying to go out in front when a group broke off the front, and this time I got stuck in a bad place in a tight corner and wasn’t able to respond fast enough to a surge. Next time I will be better. My T2 went smooth as well and I was happy with my overall performance — 5th place overall, and 2nd place amongst the West Asian countries.

Once again, I couldn’t have done it without my family, Syrian support, the Syrian Triathlon Federation, team #Mo2Tokyo, my coaches and all my friends. Special thanks to Phoenix Triathlon Club and both the Downtown Montreal YMCA and Westmount YMCA crews. I'm so grateful to have you all in my life.

 

✌️ Mohamad

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