Five-year-old basketball talent draws attention in Jordan

Ahmed Adelat mastered dribbling two balls at once in 24 hours. [Ali al-Rawashdah/Al-Shorfa]

Ahmed Adelat mastered dribbling two balls at once in 24 hours. [Ali al-Rawashdah/Al-Shorfa]

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Ahmed Adelat is an up and coming Jordanian basketball player -- even though he is only five years old.

He started off by playing with plastic basketballs made for children and then became so addicted to this sport that his talent attracted the attention of the captain of the national basketball team, Wissam al-Sous.

Al-Shorfa had a close-up look at Ahmed's skills and talent, and had the following interview with his father.

Al-Shorfa: Can you tell us about Ahmed's experience so far? When did his talent become evident?

Shadi Adelat: First of all, because of Jordan's accomplishments in basketball in the past couple of years, we started avidly following this sport, which had an influence on Ahmed. I coincidentally bought a children's plastic basketball set and noticed how attached he was to it more than all his other toys.

I also noticed how skillful he was at shooting hoops at only three years old. One day, Ahmed saw the American professional basketball player for the Zain basketball club, Ontario Lett, do a slam dunk and break the rim. He liked the move so much that he also broke his plastic rim, so I decided to upgrade the size of his rim to a "mini basket" and then I bought him a grown-up basketball.

Al-Shorfa: Has Ahmed's talent attracted the attention of basketball authorities in Jordan?

Adelat: I decided to film Ahmed playing basketball with my cell phone camera and then I uploaded it to my Facebook page. I sent a friend request to the captain of our national team, Wissam al-Sous, and when he saw the video, he sent me a message telling me that Ahmed is talented and a bright future awaits him. I contacted him and al-Sous said that we should work on developing Ahmed's talent because it is rare at his age of three and half years.

We met in the presence of the Nigerian trainer, Frederick Onyeka. I was instructed to teach Ahmed to dribble with two balls at the same time and he was able to master it within 24 hours. From then on, under the supervision of Wissam al-Sous, and through YouTube videos, Ahmed has started to attract everyone's attention including that of different satellite channels and programmes.

Al-Shorfa: Does Ahmed get any basketball training?

Adelat: Because I am neither a professional basketball player nor a trainer, Ahmed's training consists of watching basketball games alone as well as visits to captain Wissam al-Sous and the national team players.

I think that Ahmed's skills should be showcased locally and globally, especially since there are no "mini basket" outside the capital, Amman.

Al-Shorfa: What are you doing to promote and hone Ahmed's talent?

Adelat: [We are doing this] by uploading videos on YouTube and other social media sites. As a result, Ahmed's talent has caught on and we are thinking of having him participate in competitions that you will soon see locally via several Arabic satellite channels.

Al-Shorfa: Has Ahmed received any offers to sponsor him and his talent?

Adelat: Unfortunately, Ahmed has not received any offers and I hope that his talent and that of other children his age receives sufficient support from relevant authorities.

Al-Shorfa: Does Ahmed have any other talents apart from basketball? Also, would you prefer that he focus on the game or his schooling and follow a professional path?

Adelat: Ahmed is unique in other aspects. He is exceptionally intelligent and also excels at car racing games as well as different computer games. He also likes school. As his parents, we think that studying is an important part of anyone's life but school should not stand in the way of Ahmed becoming a professional player in the future.

We do not want to get ahead of ourselves, which is why we are only concentrating on developing his skills. Our options are open and we think that if we get the right offer and excellent training abroad, then we would not mind.