Every year, in this championship, each athlete lives an amazing experience with his or her team. Losing or winning, this isn’t the matter; the Lebanese Open Club Championship is distinct from other championships by its magical spirit that pushes athletes beyond their limits to achieve greatness. This championship is about beautiful stories that people create.
The Lebanese Army team, showed up to the championship despite the tough situation they were enduring; they were reserved for one week to take the place of other soldiers that are fighting in Ersel. The Club Maristes Champville supported the Lebanese Army by wearing army bracelets and foulards during these 3 days of competition. In recognition of this beautiful gesture from the Champville team, the Lebanese Army Team came up on the last day of competition, offering red roses for every athlete from Champville. This beautiful spirit between the two teams was exceptional! The Lebanese Army Team didn’t just win the Championship, but they also won our hearts.
On the other hand, when we said that this Championship in particular has the power to push athletes beyond their limits, we meant Raphael Samaha from CSJ who crossed the finish line in front of the Lebanese Army runners in 100 meters. He stayed focused on his race despite the disqualification of his teammate Michel Zeinaty who did a false start. As he said, in this championship, the only thing that matters is the title. Sabine Khoury from Inter-Lebanon also proved that Raphael is right; she won the Long Jump competition in front of Joy Abousleiman and Krystel Saneh who both had done better in previous competitions.
This year, the scoring system was different. It depended on the performance of the athletes; when they do better results, they gain more points, and when they break National records, they are awarded 5 more points. The only one to set a National record and win this award was Ali Hazer from the Champions Club, who broke the 53 seconds barrier to score on 400 meters hurdles 52.95 seconds! Another record was set but for the Midget Category with Lea Obeid from Champville, a pure talent who ran the 100 meters in 12.77 seconds to take second place after Aziza Sbeity from CSJ who clocked 12.15s! An amazing performance by Aziza who now only waits for some challenge to go under the 12 seconds!
“When you compete, you should only focus on yourself, on how you will do better and forget the people who are waiting for your results”. This was the advice I received from a true champion Manal Tayyar from CSJ. A girl who showed that she has the strongest will in this Championship! She improved her record in each run to set a new Personal Best of 2:18.90 and win the 800 meters!
“It’s all mental, it’s you against time. And it’s the toughest competition because time has no mercy, so it’s all about not giving up. Think about your personal satisfaction instead of your position because position doesn’t count as much as your level” said Sandy Karam from Champville who was very close to her National record in 5000 meters walking. She clocked 27:29.41. Her sister Chloe Karam also was few seconds away from the Midget record too.
Carine Bitchakjian from Champville is the Lebanese record holder in high jump and the Lebanese Champion for over 10 years. She said that she started high jump at the age of 19, and that she wasn’t a pure talent. What made her succeed was her perseverance. She raised the bar very high that no one since her record of 1.72m had jumped over 1.60m. She is waiting impatiently for the young talents to raise the bar even higher. Her advice for them is to work hard and never give up on their dreams.
What to say about the Lebanese Army Team, with champions like Mohamad Treiji, Nour Eddin Hadid, Ahmad Mohsen, the Mansour brothers, Khaled Dennaoui, Badri Obeid, Bilal Awada and many others, they will forever be the team to beat. While CSJ won the second place in men’s, and 1st place in women’s, they have also a unique team spirit that is giving them wings. Inter-Lebanon wasn’t very present this year but will certainly be hard to beat the year after, in both women and men. Ansar team with coach Leymouni, are doing great job, recruiting young talents like Angy Saleh, who jumped this year 4.88m while she is still a bantam.
This short season is now done, but few meetings will follow. See you next year hopefully with a higher level of competition and better performances.