Qatar athletics team shine in IAAF World U20 Championship

Tampere, Qatar’s Bassem Hemeida narrowly missed the gold in the 400m hurdles at the IAAF Under-20 Championship after he was beaten at the post by South African Sokwakhana Zazini in a thrilling race in Tampere, Finland on Saturday.

The IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, southern Finland, took place between 10 to 15 July at Ratina Stadium, and featured eight Aspire Academy student-athletes and graduates.

On last day of competition recently graduated Aspire Academy athlete and defending champion Moaaz Ibrahim was aiming to defend the Discus crown he won two years ago in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Moaaz came into the Championship boasting a world leading 66.47m attained in South Africa in February and there were hopes that such form would be good enough to get a medal of some colour.

Moaaz also happened to sustain an injury to one of his fingers on his way to Shot Put gold in the Asian U20 Championships held in Japan last month and unfortunately, he struggled to find his form during the qualifying round. His first two throws were both fouls leaving him with only one attempt to move into the top 8 and secure a further 3 throws. With the pressure on Moaaz responded on his third attempt with a solid 59.87m, positioning him in 5th place and making him eligible to continue in the competition. However, despite his best efforts he was unable to improve this mark with each subsequent attempt falling just short of the 60m line.

Moaaz finished the competition still in 5th place, with the eventual winner Jamaica’s Kai Chang securing the win with a personal best 62.36m. While it wasn’t meant to be this time around Moaaz will immediately return to training as he prepares for the Asian Games in August, his first big senior event before the World Championships come to Khalifa Stadium in Doha in October 2019.

In addition to Bassem Hemeida and Moaaz Mohamed Ibrahim, other student-athletes included Owaab Barrow and Jaber Hilal Al Mamari (110m hurdles and 4x100m relay races). They were joined by Aspire graduates Nuh Anuh (high jump), Soud Abdulaziz Al-Humaidi (discus throw), Khalil Bedoui (hammer throw) and Abdulaziz Mohammed Salem (200m and 400m races), who trains with the Qatar Athletics Federation program.

Source: Qatar Olympic Committee