Nine years old he may be, but Hamza A. Amer is one of the most mature, determined and focused athletes you'll meet.
The Kuwait-based Egyptian, who attends The Engish School Kuwait and competes for Elite Swim Club (Kuwait) and Gezira Sporting Club (Egypt), has had a stellar season in the pool this year, culminating in him smashing four records on his way to an MVP performance at the 2018 U11 BSME Games in Dubai ten weeks ago.
Following his unprecedented achievements at the recent BSME Games, Gulf Youth Sport caught up with the young prodigy to find out the keys to his success, and to discover what fuels the fire inside this impressive young man.
The first thing we found out? He may not even be ten years old yet, but Hamza's success has already been years in the making.
I started swimming at the age of 4 in 2013. While I was learning how to swim, I loved what I was doing and my coaches told me that I had talent and passion to swim.
Despite showing early promise, Hamza wasn’t always the first one to the finish line, leading to ridicule from his friends and team-mates.
I had a friend and a team mate who always kept on annoying me with words like ‘I am faster, I am better in short distances events.’
Rather than getting into a war of words, Hamza’s father had a better idea.
My Father has a passion for sport and a challenging character. Right from the start he taught me to never give up, and to direct all my efforts and nervous energy into improving myself and my swimming ability.
When I went to my father and told him about what my friend had said to me, he replied ‘Hamza don’t even reply, just train hard and let your results do the talking. When they see your results, people will be forced to respect you.‘
Hamza took that advice to heart, attacking his training with an appetite and focus that surprised his family and coaches. The 2018 season saw the fruits of his labour realised, with five podium finishes at the Middle East Open & Junior Championships, six podiums at the Dolphin Swimming Championships, and six golds from six races at the BSME Games.
In spite of his successes, Hamza has a mature approach to his development.
I don’t think about future too much; I am just focusing on what I am doing right now as I believe my future as a swimmer will depend on what I am learning now.
I am focusing more to be a balanced swimmer and to swim all the strokes with best possible perfect technique, and we will wait and see what my body will tell in future when I will be a teenager and have a more developed body structure.
Hamza’s advice for young swimmers looking to emulate the success of superstars Michael Phelps and Adam Peaty?
Don’t focus on results now at this age, just focus on training well, listen to your coaches and parents, and results will come for sure.
Wise words Hamza. Congratulations on your recent achievements – we’re excited to follow your progress over the coming years!!