Posted on November 17, 2016

Six-time Olympic Champion and nine time World Champion sprinter Allyson Felix visited Qatar Academy Doha on Wednesday to share her story and pass on advice to excited young students. The US sporting legend is the most decorated female Olympian in track and field history with a total of nine Olympic medals across four Olympic Games.

Felix is currently in Doha for the 2016 ANOC General Assembly and took time out of her schedule to visit the school and talk to the students about the highs and lows of her career. Commenting on the visit, Felix said:

“I had the pleasure of telling the students a little bit about my story and some of the adversity and challenges I faced in my career. It was an amazing time with them and they had such intelligent, great questions. I was really hoping to share my message with the students. The theme was not to give up and to keep fighting in the midst of adversity. I tried to explain that they might not be into sport - whatever their passionate about, it may be art, to be a doctor or a lawyer, or nurse - go after their dreams no matter what they might face.”

Six times Olympic Champion Allyson 2 [].jpgFelix, who has six Olympic gold medals and three silver medals from the past four Olympic Games was unable to achieve her dream of winning four golds in a single Olympics at Rio 2016 after she badly injured her ankle just ahead of the US trials. Despite this, Felix was still able to take home an impressive two golds in the 4x100m and 4 x 400m relays and silver in the 400m.

Under the umbrella of Pre-University Education, Qatar Academy Doha, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), is dedicated to sports development, and among its ranks is 17-year-old Noah Al Khulaifi, who, at Rio 2016, became Qatar’s youngest ever Olympian, and is in his final year at the school. She addressed around 50 students from Year 5 and answered many of their questions about her career, diet, training and inspirations. Speaking about Allyson’s visit, Amna Al Jaidah, aged 10 said: “It was really exciting and I really liked it. She explained a lot about herself and I was interested to know more about her. She really inspired me and I want to try running.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Carson Eid, aged 10 said: “I like to play football and she inspired me to keep on pushing and continue training. I learnt that if you love a sport you shouldn’t stop trying and you should just keep going.” The LA native is a regular visitor of Doha, where she has competed in the annual IAAF Doha Diamond League meeting since 2005, as well as the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships. When in Doha, Felix trains at Qatar’s state-of-the-art facilities at Aspire Academy, whose alumni includes Qatari Olympic silver medallist high jumper Mutaz Barshim, as well as two-time Junior World Champion in the hammer throw Ashraf El-Seify, and javelin thrower Ahmed Bader, who also both competed at Rio 2016.

Speaking about Qatar’s facilities, Felix said: Qatar’s facilities are amazing. I’ve been coming here for over 11 years now. I’ve had the pleasure of training at Aspire and it’s always such a great place to come and train. The things happening in the sporting world in Doha are just amazing. So much has changed over the years and I’ve seen the progress. I always look forward to coming back and I can’t wait to come back for the Diamond League.” Doha will be hosting the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in just under three years and Felix is very much hoping to be competing for further world titles. She also understands the opportunities that hosting the event in the Middle East for the first time in its history will bring to her sport.

Six times Olympic Champion Allyson 3 [].jpg

Speaking about the Doha 2019 World Championships, Felix said: “I hope to come to the Doha 2019 World Championships. I know that it will be organised so well. I think that it will really do a lot for this part of the world. When you are able to see sport up close, it can change you and there is so much youth here. I would love to see more youth involved in sport and more young girls involved and by having the World Championships here we’ll be able to see that transformation.” Following her Q&A Felix took photos with the Qatar Academy students and signed autographs before taking a tour of the school.

Felix is currently in Doha as part of the LA 2024 Olympic Bid team, who presented their plans during the opening session of the 21st ANOC General Assembly, which concluded on 16th November. The ANOC General Assembly – the biggest meeting of the Olympic Movement outside the Olympic Games - is being held for the very first time in the Middle East, and saw 1,200 delegates from 205 National Olympic Committees, 20 International Federations, as well as future Olympic Games Organising Committees and 2024 Olympic Games Bid cities attend.