|Marc Habib, in his coach Gaby Issa-El-Khoury's steps, is the National record holder of long jump with 7m43. He's dominating Long jump before 2004 and now going.
We know that you didn't start early in Track & Field, so when and how did you get started?
I started with Track and Field in 1999. I went to Jamhour and met Coach Alice Keyrouz. So iItold her that I was interested in Athletics, more especially Long jump and Javelin throw. After that, she began to train me and prepare me for running and jumping. Then I switched to Long Jump exclusively with Coach Gaby Issa-El-Khoury. I always had some interest in Track and Field since the early days at Saint Joseph School Aintoura. I used to do Long Jump and Javelin throw and 50m sprints. Tell us about the knee injury that happened to you.. when? how? how long did you stop? and how was the field come back?The knee injury happened in Faraya two years ago, in February 2008, while skiing. I came back to practice in Spring 2009, slowly but surely. Doctors told me that I won't jump above 7m anymore. But in the Francophonie Games in September 2009, I jumped 7m22.
What were the major competitions that you attended?
Asian Games - Doha 2006, Mediterranean Games - Almeria 2005 (SPAIN), Universiade 2005 - Izmir, Universiade 2007 - Bangkok, Asian Championship - Inchon 2005, Arab Games and Championships...
Tell us about your experience in the US:
The States were a new experience for me. I went for training camp in preparation for the Asian Championship. I was hosted by Coach Gaby in Pen State at State College for 3 weeks. I did there 2 main meetings, one in Philadelphia and another one in Albany (NY) for an East Coast Championship where I ranked first from the first round till the sixth with two jumps at 7m41, one at 7m32 and one at 7m25. It was maybe the best competition ever on a 3 meters takeoff board.
Do you still believe that you can break again your national record in the long jump?
I am convinced that I can break it again hopefully soon.
Have you ever tried triple jump or else? or other sports?
Back in 1999, I won the Triple Jump Lebanese title with a jump at 14m25, but I soon realized that Triple Jump is very hard on my heels and can hinder my chances in Long Jump. Since 2003 I am devoting my whole energy for the Long Jump.
As for other sports, I used to play Basketball before with ENB and Antoura La Tour team that won twice the second division title in 1999 and 2000. Then I left the Game to continue in Track and Field athletics, and like I said, I'm totally concentrating on Long Jump.
Skiing is my other favorite sport which I started at 9 years old.
What about doing the perfect jump and false it? did it happen to you?
Yes of course. It happens when you are over excited and you give a bit more in your jump. It’s a great jump but you false it.
How did you felt when you first brok your coach Gaby Issa-El-Khoury's record?
It was a great moment we were training to beat the record and we
had it as a target and when we got it, it was a relief, a beginning not
What are your thought Before, During and After a jump?
Before a jump I always try to imagine every step of a jump, sequence
by sequence. During, it is all about speed and power full focus. After,
it is reviewing the jump mistakes and evaluation. In the first two I do
the job, but for the third one I discuss my thoughts with my my coach
and re-evaluate. Sometimes what you think is correct is not and it is
very important that you coordinate with your coach.
Did you compete in any indoor competition?
Well just one time in Macaw China in the Asian Indoor Championship
and I was far from Gaby Issa-El-Khoury’s indoor record. The team was
intoxicated in the Hotel restaurant all of us were sick, Haykal
Moussalem, Mohammad Siraj Tamim, Gretta Taslakian and myself!!! It was bad luck
for all of us, it was a great venue… Maybe I’ll give it another try sometime
What is the most memorable jump of your career?
I will have to say my 7m41 jump in Albany New York… It was a great competition.
How long do you intend to compete at the top level?
Keeping fit for the high level of competition is difficult and
honestly is very time consuming with my work schedule. I hope for the
best always but I think I will keep up just for a couple of years more,
but definitely not more.
Have you ever had thoughts to quite?
Who didn’t?! All the time… but it’s hard when you enjoy that feeling of a few second of flying …
What do you think about adversity in Lebanon? Is it the major problem of progressing?
I think some things never change, this is Lebanon. We have to do our
best with what we have and with the time that has been given to us…and
try to keep focused on our game.
Do you feel that your country provides sufficient support for athletes?For a country driven by politics in every section of the social
life; there is a shortage and a lack of interest in sports and knowledge
in sports in general.
Any advice for young athletes involved in track and field or young long jumpers?
All I can say is stay focused on your game and just keep in mind that
being a high level athlete is very demanding, many sacrifices should
and will be made, an athlete should be enjoying what he is doing and do
it for himself. Gaby Issa-El-Khoury - Alice Keyrouz - Marc Habib