Imad Mortada and his sons Reem, Danny and Hassan all excelled in sports and obtained higher university degrees, so what do the father and his sons say to Al-Mayadeen Net about their experiences?
You rarely find a family whose members play sports at the highest levels, and most importantly, you rarely find a family that practices sports at the highest level and excels in educational certificates. This is the case of the family of Imad Mortada, who was a football star in the famous “Najma” team in the seventies and eighties, and he is also a civil engineer, while his two brothers also played football during that period, and each of them obtained a BA in mathematics.
This is not all. Emad’s three sons followed his path, Frame and Danny, two champions and former players in the Lebanese national team for badminton or “badminton” as it is known, along with Neil Reem, a university degree in psychiatry and a certificate in speech therapy, while Danny obtained a university degree in Engineering, and their brother Hassan plays football and badminton, and he is currently pursuing his university studies in physical education.
It is a wonderful story for this persevering, ambitious and successful family, and it would not have been like this had it not been for the guidance and instructions of the father Imad and his tireless attention and care for his children, in all aspects and details, small and large, as shown in his interview with “Al-Mayadeen Net”.
Imad Mortada, 64, says about his first sporting experience with the ball: “In the sixties I played with the Al-Ahly “fraternity” team, Aley, and I used to play with the team in summer in Aley and winter in Beirut, then we moved in the seventies to Beirut to the Bourj Hammoud area, so we established a team “Shabab Al-Nabaa”, which included first-class players, drew the attention of those involved in the “Al-Najma” team, and became a player in the team’s ranks until 1984.
He added: “In the same period, I was studying civil engineering at the Arab League, and the historical goalkeeper of the Egyptian national team and the famous Al-Ahly club in the fifties and sixties, Adel Heikal, the sports department official at the university, and when he saw me in the exercises, he gave me a scholarship at the Arab League, It is the annual engineering scholarship, which no other footballer did, and I also became the captain of the Arab League team in football.”
Imad continues, saying: “Circumstances played their role, as my two brothers were football players, and both of them had a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, and my cousin Samir Al-Husseini was the captain of the “Najma” team in the fifties and sixties, and we lived in the same house, and from here the house became Football, starting with my brothers, then I continued on the same path, and there was a basis for the game at home, which was my cousin, the captain of the star.”
As for the harmonization between sports and scientific excellence, Imad says: “Because my two brothers were mathematics professors and football players, I received support at the athletic and scientific levels, and things were easy, and I developed in both fields more than others, and I knew the value of that more than anyone else.”
He explains: “It is not easy for a person to succeed in the field of civil engineering and to play in the first degree in football, but luck happened to me that I am from a sports family and my two brothers excelled in science. Homes that combine excellence in sports and science.
We move with Imad to talk about his experience with his children, and his influence and role in them following his path, and combining athletic excellence and scientific excellence. Strategically to help them throughout their lives, whether scientifically or athletically.My interest in them in both sides was not a coincidence, but rather a deliberate thing, as I followed my children for 15 years daily, even on vacations, and sent them abroad at my own expense to participate in sports competitions, and this all went well. In a parallel line with the study, it was forbidden to fall short in either of them, as both are important.”
In his speech to Al-Mayadeen Net, Imad explains: “In order to succeed in this, I was completely free to follow up on my children, and when I finished my work I would start direct sports activity with my children, until the idea of sports was planted in their minds and they could no longer leave it and it became a habit and part of their lives, Since they were young, they used to go to the playgrounds and practice sports until life without sports became incomplete.”
He adds: “All of this cost me a lot of money from travel, exercises and follow-ups, as there are no clubs that care about that. It can be said that I established a “club” for my children, because I knew that if I did not do that, I would have sinned against them, and I saw that this was in the interest of my children. Because I see sports and science as an essential part of their future, despite some criticisms that were directed at me, but I continued despite that.”
Imad continues, saying that his interest in his children also benefited him as an athlete, as “when they were on the field, I sometimes walked, ran or played football, so there was a parallel sports atmosphere for me, so I feel happy in both cases, and the atmosphere at home became enjoyable as we hurried each other.” Some are at home so we won’t be late to the stadium.”
Imad believes that “there is a wrong view of sport that begins in schools and among many parents, knowing that sport is a culture that must be present in schools, and receive great attention and continue throughout life, that is, to be part of daily life because it is a treatment for physical and mental health, but unfortunately, Many people stay away from sports under the pretext of time and life’s troubles, and this, in my opinion, is not convincing, as sports become a habit when a person gets used to it.”
He added: “The interest in sports should come from schools, institutions, clubs and associations, in addition to the support of the state, as no person alone can succeed unless he has a will and the appropriate conditions are provided for him.”
This is about the father, but what do the children say to Al-Mayadeen Net?
Reem (25 years old) says: “I played badminton or badminton, and it is a relatively new game in Lebanon, not more than 20 years old, while it is old in the world. I started playing in Greece and at Hobbs Club, and won many titles, including the championship Lebanon and the Universities Championship in Lebanon, which was hosted by the Antonine University in 2017, as well as I won in the team with my sister Danny the title of Lebanon Championship once and we achieved third place a second time, and we played in the West Asian Championship, but we did not win because the difference is great with other countries as we train twice a week The rest exercise every day for 3 hours.
Reem adds about her beginning and helping the father: “When I was twelve years old, and in light of my father’s advice, according to his experience, that sports are important for physical and psychological health, so he wanted us to play sports. At first, he wanted me and my sister to play football, but, Due to the lack of female football clubs at the time, he chose badminton for us because it is physically beneficial, and because we will be among the first to play this sport in Lebanon.”
And Reem continues, saying: “My father insisted on me to train, because at the beginning I did not like to go to the field, unlike my sister and brother, but things changed when I started playing and I had friends and started to develop, as well as when we travel or a coach from Malaysia comes in the game to train us in Lebanon. But after a while I left the game, and since 5 years ago, I no longer train or participate in tournaments, but in some periods I book the stadium and play alone.”
As for her follow-up to educational attainment and excel in it alongside sports, Reem told Al-Mayadeen Net: “In Lebanon, an athlete cannot build his future, and have an abundant financial return, because there is no investment in sports, except perhaps basketball and soccer. Football, but things are different in badminton, where players in Lebanon cannot keep pace with the players of many countries, and it is possible for a player to become a coach, but also the financial return is not great.
Regarding playing alongside her sister and brother, Reem says: “Sometimes, when I don’t want to go to training, I am encouraged when I see my sister and brother going to the stadium and this was their case too, and it was also special that we are the only three brothers who play this sport, and my father was He accompanies us in all exercises and tournaments, and even in the finals he would shout outside the field to motivate us to win.”
She adds: “It was good that we encouraged each other, but on the other hand, there was a negative side which was the comparison that the coaches were making as we are brothers, and this was something wrong and upset us, especially for me because my sister Danny was more serious in training and wanted to win titles. “.
As for Danny (23 years), she says: “I used to play badminton, but now less often. Why did I choose this game, considering that my father was an athlete and a former star player and wanted to involve us in sports after school, he took us to Hobbs Club “We chose badminton, and we practiced weekly and participated in tournaments. From 2013 until 2018-2019, I was the champion of Lebanon in the game, and we used to travel abroad to play and train, such as Greece, Algeria and Dubai, after that I joined the university and reduced my exercises, but I established a team at the university, and we started organizing University championships.
She adds: “Now, when I joined the university and established a team and started training so that I could become a coach in the game, I worked in clubs such as “Hobbs” and “Mon La Salle” as well as the Lebanese national team. Now, things have changed somewhat, especially since there is no support for the game in Lebanon. So I couldn’t go on as a player and become a coach.”
As for academic excellence with sports, Danny says: “Badminton was an outlet for me from stress, and it helped me because when a person plays sports, his thinking becomes better in study or work.”
As for their being an athletic family, Danny says: “Because my father was an athlete, he knew a lot about sports, and he watched us in every exercise and after, guiding and encouraging us to develop technically and physically, and there was a constant discussion at home about sports, about badminton, as well as about football because my brother He was training with the ball as well, and this helped us a lot because badminton is not only a physical exercise but also mentally, and the discussion was useful for our development.”
For his part, Hassan, 21, says: “I study physical education because I love sports since I was young, and I used to play badminton and football, and when I graduate, I aspire to open a physical sports club and become a coach.”
He adds, “Because we are all at home playing sports, and my father was also an athlete, it helped me to develop, especially since my father was always following us to be the best.”
It can be concluded from the foregoing that the father, Imad, played a major and essential role in this mathematical and scientific excellence of his sons. He is the father who “sows and reaps”.
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