Jordanian triathlete pushes to go pro

(Photo: Handout from Karina Othman)
(Photo: Handout from Karina Othman)
AMMAN — Karina Othman, is one of two Jordanian women representing the Kingdom’s triathlon team, and at 23, the young triathlete may have a shot at qualifying for the next Olympics in Paris, according to national team coach, Abdulaziz Shuaibi. اضافة اعلان

“I believe she will be on the list of national athletes with whom we’ll work to have her qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Shuaibi told Jordan News

“She is an athlete who is committed to training and works hard to develop her abilities. I think she has bright future as a triathlete,” highlighting that Othman has come very far and achieved solid results at a number of events, Shuaibi added.

In an interview with Jordan News, Othman recounted an early start to her athletic career: “I represented the national swimming team for eight years alongside my twin brother Karim and when he switched to triathlons, and I started watching him, I eventually fell in love with the sport myself.”

 “I grew a passion for the sport then took part in a tournament that involved running and swimming where I came in second and was the discovered, and then scouted by national triathlon team coach, Abdulaziz Shuaibi in 2017,” Othman recalled.

Triathlons are a three-race that comprises swimming, cycling and running events in a test of sheer endurance.

And while Othman and her brother are both longtime athletes, the triathlete said this zeal for sports does not run in the family. 

“I don’t come from an athletic family. My dad played tennis as a hobby and my brother Othman, and I have an older sister who does not play sports. But our sport is exhausting and demands hard work and training,” Othman explained. 

The triathlete does not believe however that her sport could become a sustainable source of income.

“The sport of triathlons is not a source of income for athletes and cannot be played professionally given the circumstances, which have become even worse after the pandemic. We could however go pro if the sport received the support it needs,” Othman said.

To that effect, she added: “Among our biggest problems when cycling is the lack of adequate facilities and locations, so we wind up putting ourselves in danger when practicing in the streets,” Othman pointed out, contrasting the situation to the swimming and running portions of the preparation process, which often take place in well-equipped venues.

The triathlete lamented the absence of support for triathletes from national institutions companies. 

“The sport only receives support from the association (Jordan Triathlon Association). I wish we had greater support to boost the sport’s popularity and keep it alive; especially that only my teammate Mariam Shaaban and I represent the national women’s team.”

But despite piling challenges, Othman is steadfast on her path to going pro. 

“I’m going to take up the sport fulltime after graduation and work on my skills since things remain unclear regarding the dates of international races, considering all the Covid-related push-backs and cancellations,” Othman said. 

She added that she rejects the notion of a hypothetical or fixed retirement age: “Our sport starts at a later age, which is what sets it apart from others.”
 “To become a triathlete you need to be determined and to push against the games’ arduous demands,” Othman stressed, highlighting the high risks that face triathletes, particularly during the cycling leg of the race.

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