My Story
Mohammed and his dreams chase each other
Mohammed Ahmad, 18-year-old champion from Khanaqin.

I dream to hit the Iraqi record and join the 2024 Olympics

By Amir Khanaqini in Diyala

Mohammed and his dreams chase each other

  • 2022-09-23

On the dry ground of Khanaqin Public Stadium, with old and basic equipment, an 18-year-old young man, with his coach wants to fulfill two dreams in the next three years: hit the Iraqi record and join the Olympics of 2024.

Mohammed Ahmad, a young champion from Khanaqin district, northeast of Baghdad, represented Iraq in the West Asian Championships last July. He earned the third place in the discus throw.

"This game suits my desires, this is my dream and I love this game, I will strive for that and I will train constantly," Mohammed said inside the Khanaqin public stadium during his daily training.

I am in love with this game

He was born in 2004 in Khanaqin. Sports was one of his constant interests. His father may have helped him because he was an athlete of track and field and later an assistant referee in the Iraqi Premier League. His father constantly noticed him and made him develop his desire; Mohammed confirms.

As a teenager, Mohammed played football. Football was his start in sports. He also played volleyball for a year. But he found himself in athletics, particularly the discus throw.

On the field, because he was heavy, his coaches told him, "You're not good for running," which requires good physical fitness and campaigning in running,” so they suggested throwing the discus.

"I felt I could find myself in this sport, and the coaches noticed my abilities and suggested that I develop this sport.” Mohammed was only 14 then.

Mohammed Ahmad during training at Khanaqin Public Stadium. Amir Khanaqi

In 2020, when he turned 16, he made his debut in a tournament for Iraqi clubs, held in Baghdad, at the youth level. Mohammed was ranked the fourth.

"It was a very nice and special event, but I was sad because I could not represent my city, Khanaqin Club which was in a very bad financial situation and they could not provide me with financial expenses,” said Mohammed who represented Ninewa province at the time.

"What encouraged me to improve was my fans in my first tournament,” said Mohammed who was improving step by step.

In 2021, a new coach (Mohammed Khalil) has been appointed to coach Mohamed.

I was sad that I could not represent my city Khanaqin

"He discovered my hidden abilities, he taught me new techniques and I felt that my abilities were improve in a very short time," he explianed.

In March 2021, Mohammed realized his dream of representing Khanaqin in the Iraqi Clubs Championship for juniors.

 Khanaqin is one of the disputed areas, according to the Iraqi constitution. The district belongs to Diyala province and its almost 90,000 population consists of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens, both Sunni and Shia Muslims.

In the tournament, he achieved another dream, which was to win the first place in the Iraqi clubs.

Mohammed Ahmad, representing the Iraqi national team in a tournament. Photo: Mohammed Archive


It’s time to achieve bigger dreams

After winning the first place at the level of Iraqi clubs, several players were tested in Baghdad to prepare them to represent Iraq abroad. One of the nominated players was Mohammed.

"I successfully completed my exams and in November 2021, I represented Iraq in an international tournament for the first time.”

The tournament was for 20 Arab teams and was held in Tunisia.

"It was my first time traveling abroad. It was a very special feeling. It was my first time boarding a plane. I don't know how to describe it.”

However, he felt that representing a country was a responsibility, which made him feel anxious.

"I was very scaring and felt tense and confused. I was the only one representing Iraq.”

I was the only one representing Iraq

His coach, Mohammed Khalil, helped him and gave him constant advice and comments. That has made him feel calm before the tournament starts. Mohammed was ranked the second. It was the first title for the Iraqi national team.

After the tournament, Mohammed was in trouble for a while because the Iraqi athletics team appointed a new foreign coach. "I didn't fit in very well with that coach," Mohammed said, without going into details.

In December 2021, although he says he was not satisfied with his performance, he won first place in the Iraqi Clubs Championship.

This prompted him to be selected to represent Iraq in the 19-nation Arab Youth Championships in Tunisia. Mohammed was ranked the third.

Last July, Mohammed participated in the West Asian Championships, representing Iraq and ranked in the second place. The result once again prompted Mohammed to intensify his training, as he continues with his coach on a dry grass-free pitch in Khanaqin.

He is currently training under his own coach in Khanaqin after asking the foreign coach not to train him. “He was in Baghdad and I was in Khanaqin, so it was not suitable for none of us.”

"I want to achieve two other dreams, the first is to break a record in Iraq, the second is to prepare for the (2024) Olympics and I want to represent Iraq.”

The record in the discus throw in Iraq is 59 meters, Mohammed has so far managed to reach 53 meters. For the second dream, Mohammed has to wait for the 2024 Olympics. "I have set aside three years to fulfill those two dreams," Mohammed confidently concluded.


  • FB
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YT