Jiu Jitsu stars Malek Hariri and Lama Qabbaj scooped the headline prizes at the Jordan Olympic Committee’s (JOC) Black Iris Awards as they were named Best Sportsman and Best Sportswoman of the Year respectively.
Hariri enjoyed a superb year in 2015 after he won 12 medals and the seven-time world champion beat off competition from Asian Boxing Championships bronze medallist Hussein Ishish and taekwondo player Ahmad Abu Goush for the award.
Kickboxer Udai Abu Hasswah and triathlete Lawrence Fanous were also nominated.
Qabbaj, gold medallist at the World Jiu Jitsu Championships, was chosen for the Best Sportswoman award ahead of table tennis player Sewar Abu Yaman, gold medallist at the Arab Women’s Cup, and badminton’s Lena Mazahreh.
Rising star Khader Baqleh, the 17-year-old who became the first swimmer from the nation to achieve an Olympic ‘B’ qualifying time in the 200 metres freestyle in August, claimed the Best Young Male Achiever prize.
He has recently attended a training camp in Austria in a bid to hone his preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Baqleh got the nod in front of karateka Nabeel Al Shweiki, golfer Shergo Al Kurdi, chess player Ahmad Al Khateeb and Mohammad Al Goul, who competes in jiu jitsu, for the award.
Asian Taekwondo Championships bronze medallist Taleen Al Humaidi was named as the women’s Best Young Achiever, pipping fellow taekwondo player Aysha Al Sedah, fencer Balqees Al Qudah, a gold medallist at the Arab Championships, footballer Leen Al Btoush and badminton player Domo’ Amro.
Khetam Abu Awad was recognised for her qualification for the Rio 2016 table tennis tournament as she took home the Best Paralympic Athlete trophy.
She was chosen ahead of Fatin Elymat, also a table tennis player, and powerlifter Mohammad Abu Arrar.
The winners were given their awards at a special gala dinner, attended by JOC President Prince Feisal Al Hussein and a host of other delegates and sporting officials.
The awards were voted on by the general public, with a record 500,000 votes cast across the five categories.
“The awards recognise and promote sporting excellence and the strength and depth of the five shortlists show the level of world-class talent that we are proud to call Jordanians,” Prince Feisal said.
“I would like to congratulate, not only the winners, but all of the tremendous sportsmen and women that were nominated.
“We are proud of you all.”