Doha: Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, fellow British long-distance runner Chris Thompson, Abdihakem Abdirahman of the US, and Germany’s Hendrik Pfeiffer held a training session with Aspire Academy’s student-athletes on Thursday.
The athletes, who are in Doha to take part in the Ooredoo Doha Marathon 2018 on Friday, spoke to the young Aspire Academy athletes about their careers and engaged them in warm-up exercises and a short training session at the Aspire outdoor athletics track.
Mo Farah said he was glad that he could share his experiences with the youngsters. “The kids see us winning on TV, but they don’t see what it takes and what you have gone through to get to the top. That’s why I appreciate opportunities like this when you can share experiences with young athletes, ” said Farah.
The 34-year old told the youngsters that the keys to his own success include “hard work, commitment and your belief in yourself.”
“I adopted an attitude that encouraged me not only to be better but be the best. I resolved to push myself to my highest potential and aimed to be more than just the British champion or a Europe champion but a world champion. Nothing in life gets given to you, you always have to work for it.”
Asked about the importance of rivalry in encouraging motivation, Chris Thompson responded: “I grew up with Mo Farah, we trained a lot together, constantly battled each other. One time I was faster, the next time he was. Friendly competition and rivalry is definitely a good stimulus and can bring out the best in you and it definitely helped Mo and I get better when we were young.”
Commenting on the Academy’s student-athletes, Thompson said: “I’m very impressed, they are enthusiastic young lads with clearly a lot of talent. They have huge opportunities here and there is no doubt that they are on a pathway to become successful athletes.”
Meanwhile, praising the role of coaches in athlete development, Abdihakem Abdirahman said: “I have been with my coach for 25 years. He showed me the path and what I had to do in the different stages of my career to be successful. It’s very important to surround yourself with people that care about you.”
Abdihakem, who at 41 years of age is still competing at the top in marathons, extolled the student athletes to find the passion for their sport and find enjoyment in doing their sporting activity: “When you love your sport and enjoy it you are more likely to put in your all. That combination of passion and effort usually brings success and satisfaction.”
Pfeiffer said he was still learning from the likes of Farah, Thompson and Abdirahman.
“It’s a privilege for me to listen to these top athletes. Even l am still working hard on cultivating the right positive attitude that will drive me to be the best l can be,” said Pfeiffer.
Some of the student athletes who attended the training session with the stars will travel to Iten in Kenya for high-altitude training in the coming period, and Pfeiffer, who will also be heading to train there, expressed that he would like to train with them in Kenya if it was possible.
Established in 2004, Aspire Academy has two primary aims. First, to identify and transform talented young athletes with real potential into world-renowned champions who represent Qatar in national teams across a wide range of sports. Second, to promote a sports culture in Qatar and the region.