Photo Credit:
Ahmad Abu Ghaush / Photo credit: Ahmad Abu Ghaush's Facebook page

Jordanians were jumping in joy Friday morning, when they heard their team had just won its first official Olympic medal ever, and it is gold to boot. The winner was a 20-year-old business student named Ahmad Abu Ghaush, who took the gold in the 65 kg Taekwondo event, after beating Russia’s Alexey Denisenko 10-6 in the Rio Olympics.

The Abu Ghaush family immigrated to Jordan from the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghaush, located on the main highway to Jerusalem.

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The Korean martial art Taekwondo was developed in the 1940s and 1950s by martial artists who incorporated elements of Karate and Chinese martial arts. Since 2000, taekwondo has been one of only two Asian martial arts (along with judo) that are included in the Olympic Games.

A Royal Court statement Friday said His Majesty King Abdullah called the champion after the game to express his “happiness with the distinguished sports achievement, congratulating Abu Ghaush for the historic victory that raised the name of Jordan high in the Olympic games.” Also, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hussein called to congratulate the champion. And Her Majesty Queen Rania “took to social media to share with Jordanians her joy for the achievement.”

The gold winner also received congratulatory calls from HRH Prince Feisal, president of the Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC), HRH Prince Hassan, president of the Higher Council for Self-Defense Sports and HRH Prince Rashid, president of the Jordanian Taekwondo Federation.

“I can’t believe it,” Abu Ghaush told the JOC News Service. “I dedicate this medal to His Majesty King Abdullah II and all the people of Jordan. This is for you.”

At the local council of Abu Ghaush they were also delighted to hear about the great achievement of their wayward cousin. “He brought great honor to the family, to his parents, and to himself, and it makes us very happy,” council head Issa Jaber told Israel Channel 2 News. “We hope someone living in Abu Ghaush today will reach a similar achievement.”

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