From childhood passion to potential Olympian: Ahmad Abu Al-Soud's story

From childhood passion to potential Olympian Ahmad Abu Al-Soud's story 01
(Photo: Khaled Al-Omeri, Jordan News)
AMMAN — Ahmad Abu Al-Soud, a member of the Jordanian national gymnastics team, began his gymnastics journey at the age of four by sheer coincidence. His father noticed his spontaneous movements at home and decided to take him to a specialized center to learn the basics of the sport and properly nurture his talent.اضافة اعلان

Today, Abu Al-Soud is a champion in Jordanian gymnastics. He stands just one step away from realizing his dream of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics, a historic achievement for him.

Recently, Abu Al-Soud secured 30 points after winning the gold medal in the first round of the World Cup Championship held in Egypt. His score of 15.066 was remarkable. Now, he needs to clinch a gold medal in the upcoming German round to officially qualify for the Paris Olympics. Alternatively, the official qualification announcement could be deferred until the Azerbaijan round in March or the Qatar round in April. The Olympic Games will take place in the French capital, Paris, from July 26 to August 11 this year.

Abu Al-Soud did not hide his dream of qualifying for the Olympics, saying, "The Olympic Games are the dream of any athlete, and it is the highest level that an athlete can reach. Therefore, I believe that the historical mark in my career will be qualifying for the Olympics for the first time in my career."

Olympic athlete in the making
Abu Al-Soud reflected on his journey, saying, “I started gymnastics at the age of 4 through my father’s encouragement. He recognized my talent and directed me to a training center. By the age of 6, I was already committed to the sport. One day, when I had to miss a training session, I cried, realizing that gymnastics was my passion, talent, and future.” He credited his coaches, Khalil Al-Qawasmi and Salama Al-Sakaran, for pushing him to pursue gymnastics further.

Regarding his specialization, Abu Al-Soud focuses on the pommel horse, a gymnastics apparatus for swinging and balancing that consists of a padded rectangular or cylindrical form with two pommels on the top and that is supported in a horizontal position above the floor. Traditionally, it is used by only male gymnasts.

“I used to compete on all apparatuses before the age of 18, but I decided to focus my talent on one apparatus due to limited time and because I was talented in it. I could not study, work, and train on six apparatuses at once, so I believe my decision was correct in focusing on this apparatus, where I achieved notable accomplishments,” he added.

Furthermore, Abu Al-Soud follows a diet plan that the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) provides, which guarantees three healthy meals each day.

“I do not have excess weight or dietary issues while maintaining consistent training,” he added. “Therefore, I believe I can enjoy my favorite foods comfortably.” His preferred meal is the traditional Jordanian dish, mansaf.

To unwind, Abu Al-Soud swims and plays video games to escape the pressures of training. He identified maintaining a balance between work, studies, life challenges, and consistent training as one of the toughest hurdles.

Ahmad Abu Al-Soud’s achievements
Abu Al-Soud boasts an impressive record of achievements. Most notably, he secured the silver medal at the 2022 World Championships in Liverpool, UK. This historic achievement made him the first Arab gymnast to win a medal in the history of the World Gymnastics Championships, which began in 1903. In the previous season, he also clinched the bronze medal at the World Championships held in Antwerp, Belgium.

Additionally, Abu Al-Soud holds the title of Asia champion on the pommel horse, having triumphed in the 2019 Mongolia and 2022 Qatar championships. Additionally, he secured second place in the 2023 Asia Championship held in Singapore. His accomplishments extend to being an Arab champion in several previous tournaments.

He humorously recalls a moment during his gymnastics journey when he became angry with himself for not performing well in a routine on the pommel horse during a championship. Despite his coach’s attempts to calm him down, he left the arena upset. Later, he received a call informing him that he had secured second place and a silver medal.

Abu Al-Soud wishes that the private sector would support individual sports achievers. “They should embrace talent and back accomplished athletes to become excellent ambassadors on the international stage,” he stated.

Looking ahead, Abu Al-Soud contemplates entering the coaching world after the Paris Olympics. “Gymnastics is my world. Perhaps I will coach at an academy or with the federation. However, I will also enter married life with my partner, Bana Al-Draghma, after the Paris Olympics. It will be a new private life that we will begin together,” he stated.

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