I started track and field in 1981. In September 1980, he matched the Lebanese record in the 100m -a dream record for many athletes. He succeeded. I did not know him at the time, I had only read about him in the paper. When I started training with Raymond Naccour, I was excited to learn he was in the team. It was intimidating for me to be next to the Lebanese record holder. Could one just simply start a conversation with such an athlete?
The answer came with his great smile. A smile that started running with us, telling jokes, laughing and having fun. This record holder was a gentle and easy going young man, fun to be with who, spread a "joie de vivre” all around him. He had a big heart!
We trained one year together. Although we did not see each other very often after that year, we had a blast every time we met going down memory lane. All who have known him still remember his smile and his constant good mood!
We are very fortunate to have known him! He left us too early and deprived us of his smile. That is life, whimsical and unfair. It has stolen him from us for no reason.
I am certain that all his friends miss a joyful person and a great athlete. Our youth would have benefited from him. They can listen to our stories.
Roland Dagher, Lebanese champion in the 100, 200 and 4x100m and recordholder in the 100 and 4x100m has left us!
A general in the Lebanese army, founder and president of a track club, he was first of all an athlete who loved to run. Our relationship became closer during his last years when I really needed someone on my side. It was a most difficult time for me, sports wise, and he generously included me and my athletes to his team, no strings attached. He proved to be true to his word: help athletes and Lebanese sport. During our many meetings, whenever I mentioned that it was thanks to him that my athletes were able to train and break records, he disregarded what I was saying and subtly changed the subject. He was a generous and decent person. I regret not seeing him upon my return from the United States, to say hello one last time.
For the last time, thank you General Francois Genadry!
Turning the page
The only Lebanese with a gold medal at the Asian Championship, several medals at the Arab Championships, 2 Olympic Games qualifications and finally, a Lebanese record of international level, Jean-Claude Rabbat, the greatest Lebanese athlete so far, announced he was retiring. He will focus on coaching from now on.
It is a beautiful track tale that has ended!
I have been criticized for constantly talking about Gretta Taslakian and neglecting others. This was not a whim on my part. It is simply the fact that she is the best Lebanese athlete for 2010 within both genders. This past year, she has run the 100m in less than 12 seconds 6 times!
Although an event that had not always produced good athletes, the marathon is today the most popular event in Lebanon. Moreover, the best male Lebanese athlete in 2010 is a marathon runner, Hussein Awada with a new record 2:20:31 at the Beirut marathon.
Ramzi Naim is for the first time in his young career in the top 3 men. I wish him the best for 2011.
Several athletes have shone in 2010. Abdo Helou in 800m, Oussama Naddaf in triple jump, AB Chahine in the hammer throw, Marc Habib in long jump, Ali Hazer in decathlon, Ahmad Hazer in high hurdles, Diala El-Khazen in long jump, Krystel Saneh in horizontal jumps and Janet Said in javelin, as well as Aziza Sbaiti who could go very far.
It is to be noted that due to the absence of wind measurement in sprint and jump events and to achieve a ranking that can comply with the Lebanese reality, a decision was made to consider all results even those achieved without wind measurement. The fact that all records were broken with wind factor facilitated this decision making. However, it is regrettable that such things still happen.