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02 Mar 2012
London 2012 , IOC News , Olympic Solidarity

Olympic Solidarity: Dana Haider Touran

Olympic Review catches up with one of the Olympic solidarity scholarship holders as she targets London 2012. After silver medals at the Youth Olympic Games and the Asian Games, Jordan’s rising taekwondo star Dana Haider Touran is hoping her Olympic Solidarity scholarship will lead to further success at the 2012 Olympic Games.

How has the Olympic Solidarity programme helped you?
The programme helps me a lot. I was having financial troubles and unable to cover the expenditures of competing in this sport at the level required. I was unable to travel to the overseas camps that would help me improve, but with the Solidarity programme I have been able to practise regardless of financial problems and it has allowed me to focus completely on my sport.

So it has effectively allowed you to continue chasing your dream?
It’s always been my dream to represent Jordan and try to win medals for my country on the international stage. I really want to win Jordan’s first Olympic medal and the Olympic Solidarity programme has allowed me to follow my dream.

Is taekwondo a popular sport in Jordan?
Over the past few years it has become the most popular individual sport here. I think this is because we have been successful in winning medals internationally, which has meant more publicity and attracted more young people into the sport.

How hard is it to grow up as an ambitious taekwondo player in Jordan?
Taekwondo needs equipment and adequate facilities but in Jordan there are a lot more opportunities than in most countries. It is hard though and in order to succeed you have to be passionate about it. My main point to get across is that we do this sport for love and not money.

You competed in the first Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and also the Asian Games in Guangzhou. How did that come about?
I was chosen to compete in these two events because of my achievements and they have given me tremendous experience. I won silver at both; however, now I am focused firstly on trying to qualify for London 2012 and then hopefully winning a medal.

How do you maintain your motivation?
I love taekwondo. My motivation is the Jordanian flag and trying to do my best to bring home success to the Jordanian people.

How did you get started in taekwondo?
I started through my school when my teacher advised me to take up kickboxing. After one month I tried taekwondo and took to it straight away. At the age of nine I practised taekwondo intensively and won many local championships despite my age. After that I broke into the national team.

What are the main attributes needed to be a successful taekwondo player?
There are various qualities you need such as speed, but the most important thing are your reactions because they allow you to expect the move of your competitor and decide when you should attack.

What is your training programme like?
I train with both boys and girls and prefer to train with boys because they have the strategies and technique that I need to improve. Normally I train twice a day – in the morning for technique and in the afternoon I go to the gym. After training I sometimes do aerobics.

Have you set yourself any targets for the Games in London in 2012?
I hope to qualify for London first and then I will fight to win a gold medal – Jordan’s first.

Who was your Olympic hero or role model when you were growing up?
Turkey’s Servet Tazegül, a three-time world champion, has been my hero since I was young. He’s the best.

How do you communicate with fans, friends and family? Do you use social media?
Fans have set up four groups on social networks for me and I also have my own account, which I update regularly. I respond to fans’ questions on the groups by checking them twice a day. I also share videos and pictures. I use micro-blogging as well. Social media is important and a modern way to allow family, friends and fans to keep up to date with my progress; it is so easy to use.

Olympic Solidarity

Olympic Solidarity is the body that ensures that talented athletes, regardless of their financial status, have an equal chance of reaching the Olympic Games and succeeding in the Olympic arena.

It is responsible for administering and managing the National Olympic Committees’ share of the revenue from the sale of broadcasting rights to the Olympic Games.

Working in particular with the most disadvantaged NOCs and their Continental Associations, Olympic Solidarity uses this money to develop a range of assistance programmes.

Within its total budget, USD 61 million is earmarked to provide support to athletes for the 2009-2012 Olympic Solidarity quadrennial period.
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