Lisek, Kovacs and Richards Share Tips with Aspire Academy Students
A group of top athletes participating in the 2019 IAAF Doha Diamond League visited the world-renowned Aspire Academy in Doha on Wednesday, where they shared their experiences with the athletes, coaches and management, coaches of the famous sporting complex.
Piotr Lisek, the 2017 world silver medallist in the pole vault was joined by the USA’s Joe Kovacs - the 2015 world champion in shot put and reigning 4x400m relay world champion, Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago in sharing useful tips and techniques with the academy students who could not contain their excitement at meeting the stars.
The visit was on the sidelines of the first stage of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League - which will take place at the state-of-the-art Khalifa International Stadium for the first time on May 3.
The athletes, who later took part in training sessions with the students based on their disciplines, highlighted to the participants the importance of diligence, commitment and persistency as well as the ability to deal with disappointments as the necessary requirements for a successful career in athletics.
The stars encouraged the students to embrace challenges and to see impossibility as nothing, noting that no great thing ever come easy.
Speaking during the visit, Kovacs, a silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics said,
“It’s been a great experience especially with the students today. I’m overwhelmed with their response and the hunger to achieve something great with their lives. It’s always great to mingle with kids and I’m happy for the wonderful opportunity.”
The 29-year-old Pennsylvania-resident, who is returning to Doha for the second time said he hopes to perform better than his first visit in 2015 performance, where he finished fourth with a throw of 20.86m.
“As usual, we have a very tough field in Doha with all throwers within the 22m range. My projection is to throw 22m at the minimum and we will see what follows after," he continued.
"For me, the IAAF World Championships is the top priority and I’m here to give my best. I’m aiming to start well here and to finish well in September as well,” said the man with personal records of 22.57m outdoors and 21.46m indoors.
Kovacs, a silver medallist at the 2017 IAAF London World Championships, noted that he had marked out Doha on his calendar for a long time considering the importance of the Doha leg of the 14-city event for his season.
“Doha Diamond League is my first competitive event of the year, though I’ve participated in a couple of indoor events especially at the Ohio State University where my wife works.
"Participating here will help in having a feel of what is to be expected in September and I’m grabbing the opportunity with both hands,” he added.
For Jeremy Richards, the visit to the Aspire Academy helps him to fulfil one of his childhood dreams.
“I’ve always loved to give back to the kids. I never had the opportunity of being mentored by star athletes while growing up and it has always been my desire to afford the younger ones the privilege I never had. I can see the excitements on the faces of these guys and it gives me great joy,” said the 200m bronze medallist at the 2017 IAAF London World Championships.
Richards, who will be competing against the likes of reigning 200m world champion Ramil Guliyev and Nethaneel MItchell-Blake, the 4X100m relay world champion on Friday, added that he is looking forward to having a great run at the impressive stadium.
“2018 was my first time of being here and I have fond memories. I was lucky to lay hands on the traditional “thobe” dress which I still keep. I looked great in it and the pictures I took with the cloth is one of the best collection I have. I ended up second in the 200m which wasn’t bad considering the field but I hope to do better this time around,” said the 25 year-old.