Abdalelah Haroun has a way to disarm you, with his wide smile.
The Qatari 400m athlete is as warm off the track as he has proven to be hot on it.
At the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London last month, the 20-year-old had Steven Gardiner of Bahamas for company on the lane to his right, with South African sensation Wayde van Niekerk just a couple of lanes up the order.
Haroun found enough focus, and strength to pick up Qatar’s first medal at the championships, finishing behind Van Niekerk and Gardiner, with a season’s best time of 44.48 seconds.
“It feels so good, the medal is a different feeling… nothing like I have experienced before, at such a big world stage,” Haroun told Gulf Times yesterday.
“Winning a medal at the world championship has been a dream, and it feels great that I have done that.”
And while a dream may have come true, that of winning a medal for Qatar, the smiling 20-year-old has no plans on stopping there.
“We have a good team backing us. All of us have been working hard. We won two medals this time… hopefully next event we are able to win five… six… medals,” he said.
What was the experience like running with the likes of Van Niekerk, Gardiner, Isaac Makwala of Botswana, some of the biggest names in the discipline?
“World championships always see tough competition. Not just the big names but everyone who makes it to the final has gone through the grind and made it to the finals. Final is final. It’s the top. To win a medal with that kind of field, it is great,” he said.
The former world junior champion only had great things to say about his experience at the Worlds.
“World Championships, London, Outdoors, crowds, it all came together… it is a different feeling,” he said as his smile got wider.
Haroun will be travelling next week to begin preparations for the coming season, which will also see the World Indoors Championships in Birmingham, United Kingdom, in March.
“But before that, I have some time for my family and friends. I have some time for myself,” he said.
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