Seven months ago, all our eyes were glued to our television sets, eagerly waiting for Oman’s Olympic torchbearer to erupt into his lightning sprint. He crouched patiently but intently with the best athletes from other parts of the world.
Barakat Al Harthi had already surpassed all our expectations when he was ranked third with an extremely competitive timing of 10.22 seconds in the Rio Olympics, which was far better than his performance at the 2012 London Olympics.
His journey, which began when he was just 15 years old, hasn’t been a bed of roses. Having been brought up in a remote village in Sharqiyah, Al Harthi hadn’t been exposed to different cultures and mindsets, but on realising his capabilities his coach decided to send him to Europe.
After coping with the culture shock and struggling with the communication gap, he started appreciating the competition and the opportunities that he had been provided. He used it to his benefit optimally. He soon started participating in so many regional and international races that he can’t even remember how many medals he has won till date.
Even his road to Rio last year wasn’t an easy one. From his flights getting delayed, to his luggage with his training kit getting misplaced, to not getting enough time to prepare because of the weather; the universe had decided to pose challenges for this determined sprinter. But he soared against all odds to come out as a true winner making the Sultanate proud.
But was that it for Barakat? He is no one-hit-wonder. Soon after the Olympics he came back to Oman and started his training right away and just a month later bagged a gold medal in the 60 metre sprint race in Vietnam during the Asian Beach Games. Life for him hasn’t changed much after the Olympics as he has decided that he won’t let anything affect him until he wins the big medal.
“My ultimate goal is for Oman to win a medal at the Olympics. It could be me winning it for my country or someone else. But I just want the medal to come home.” He has started training harder and longer ever since he got back from Rio. “I train six days a week, at least twice each day mostly at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.”
He has been maintaining a strict diet and workout regime and isn’t letting anything hinder his progress. Currently, Al Harthi is preparing for the World Championship in London while keeping the 2020 Olympics in mind. Quietly but diligently, he continues to strive hard to reach his goal and add more medals to his cupboard and more silver linings in Oman’s proud cloud.
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