'Every time I stood on the mat, it inspired me': UAE teen karate champ talks trials, triumphs

15-year-old Omar Hassan is country's number one fighter in his category, ranks in global top 60


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 12 Aug 2022, 5:30 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 Aug 2022, 10:14 PM

Fifteen-year-old karate champ Omar Hassan ranks in the global top 60 for karate after achieving six medals throughout a season.

The student from GEMS Metropole School – Motor City, Dubai has won two gold, one silver and three bronze medals.

He has also just completed an incredible year of achievements, finishing at first place for his age range in the under 68kg category of the UAE National Karate Championship 2022.

Essential to Hassan's success, the teenager explains he received unparalleled support from his school, which offers young athletes a rich sports programme, good facilities, including a gym and CrossFit area and flexibility to enable students to compete in top-level competition.

He says, "Participating in any championship requires loads of preparation every day to be able to achieve the best results. I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to take part. As a result of my hard work, I was able to take first place – the gold medal in my age group, ranking me as the number one fighter in the UAE in my age category. I am grateful for this opportunity, as I never dreamt I would attain the gold medal. I was so excited to share the news with my peers and PE teacher and the whole school community – they all were extremely happy for me."

Talking about what motivated him to get into the sport, Hassan says, "I chose karate in pursuit of a new hobby, though I later learned that karate is a sport that requires immense self-discipline and courage to perform at the best level. I found that every time I stood on the mat, it inspired me and motivated me to work harder to achieve my goals. The sport has taught me discipline and determination, and it has built my physical strength and mental courage."

Upholding the sportsman spirit and talking about how he handles failures, the teenager highlights that failures enable one to emerge stronger.

"I believe that making mistakes and learning how to recover from them strengthens the mind during and outside of any competition. I have made mistakes during practice sessions and in competitions, but I have learnt to overcome these and to continue fighting and improving in the sport I love," he adds.

Shedding light on the need to plan and organize oneself while juggling between his studies and sporting passion, Hassan underlines, "I strive to be organized both in my studies and karate. This has helped me to excel in both throughout the year. I achieved this by planning and coordinating training sessions and studying in such a way so that it suits my schedule."


"I always try and remain as focused as possible. I enjoy sports at school and am studying GCSE PE (physical education). GCSE PE leads specifically to further study of Physical Education at AS and A2 and beyond. I feel that I am doing well academically too, and the discipline I have gained from karate has served me well in the classroom."

"Last but not the least, I cannot emphasize enough that my parents and my school have incredibly supported me. My school aids me by enabling me to catch up on anything I may have missed due to my tournaments. They ensure I do not have any gaps in my learning and help me when I need their guidance," adds Hassan.

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