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Jordan’s Olympic karate bronze medallist seeks to strike youth inspiration

By JT - Jul 04,2022 - Last updated at Jul 04,2022

Image courtesy of Abdelrahman Al Masatfa

AMMAN — Abdelrahman Al Masatfa, Jordan’s Olympic karate bronze medallist at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, says that he is keen on inspiring youth and instilling the value of perseverance.

“I want people to know that, even if they have somehow gone off-course or lost track of their passions, that there is no obstacle or challenge too great to stop you from achieving what you want. Nothing is impossible,” Masatfa said in a statement sent to The Jordan Times.

Growing up in East Amman, Masatfa enjoyed watching martial arts films and would often copy the moves he saw on the screen. 

Masatfa’s father, who practised karate, noticed his son’s interest and brought him to the club to train. 

Despite initial setbacks resulting in him being taken off the team, Masatfa continued training.

After years of participation in international competitions, he is now a two-time medallist at the Asian Games and a four-time medallist at the Asian Karate Championships, including a gold medal at the 2018 games, held in Amman.

Elaborating on his passion for karate, Masatfa said that “it is a misconception” to assume that the sport is all about fighting. The sport does help participants develop strength, fitness and exceptional self-defence skills, “but the real value lies in its emphasis on honour, tradition, community and respect”, he said in the statement.

Masatfa managed to win 10 consecutive matches in one day at the World Qualification Tournament in Paris, nabbing one of the 10 spots at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. 

Due to the COVID pandemic, the Olympic Games were postponed, resuming in 2021. 

Masatfa was the first Arab national to win an Olympic medal in karate at the Olympic Games, and his win also helped Jordan achieve a record of winning two medals in a single Olympic Game, the statement said. 

Looking forward, Masatfa hopes to compete in the Islamic Solidarity Games, which will be held in Turkey in August.

It was recently announced that karate will not be represented at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. However, he is preparing for other international competitions.

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