Every country is competing to become number one. It doesn’t matter from which field, whether in the field of business, technology or Sports.
Maldives is a dot on the world chart, barely visible. A population of about 350,000 people and yet we still managed to get ranks in renowned world competitions.
Born to the world of Football, the Secretary General of the Maldives Olympic Committee, Ahmed Marzooq is one of the most inspiring individuals who has worked tirelessly to bring countless opportunities for our youth, to help them reach beyond the skyline of Maldives.
1. Can you tell me about what you do?
We have successfully completed the Olympic committee plan for 2011 to 2016. We are currently working on our plan for this year and the budget was passed during the general assembly held few days back.
2. What was your target these past few years?
We wanted to change the mindset of athletes, parents and coaches to believe that we can get a medal for individual sports other than football at a regional level. Football isn’t the only sport in Maldives.
In, 2011, the first Scholarship on sports was given, at the time, neither the athletes nor the parents wanted to take the opportunity as it meant staying abroad for a long time.
However, the mindset was changed with Saaid’s success, now even the 15 year old will take that opportunity.
We have been able to convince that a medal can be achieved at the regional level. Now our target is to get a bigger medal at World Level. And this is what we are doing now.
3. Can you tell us about your journey, how it all started?
Since I was born I saw the National Football Cup in my home. My dad is a huge football person. And my big brother (only 2 years apart) is also a football person.
We both grew up in a very ‘football family’
So it influenced us a lot. We always worked in it. Participated in school sports competitions, mostly in football and also joined the Maldives national team after finishing school.
I joined team Valencia, IFC and got the chance to win the National cup. In 2001, I just halted my football career and I wanted to pursue higher studies. I got crowd funding from 54 people to go abroad after trying for 2 years.
In 2007, I joined the administrative department of Victory Sports Club. And In 2009, when the Olympics committee was established, my friends requested that I partake in the election. After a very competitive election, I was nominated.
I wanted to provide sports opportunity for young people that I couldn’t to get in my youth. The heart of my work is Athletes, rather than administrative works. Athletes became my focus and I tried to take Maldives to the next level, the following the 4 years since my election.
By the next election, it was very easy. I didn’t spend a single coin trying to convince anyone, but all was achieved through hard work. My goal and commitment was to provide these opportunities for Athletes.
My family has provided constant support and they have backed me always.
4. What is your philosophy?
If we want to go to the level where Japan is, and if you know they work for 6 hours, then we need to work for 12 hours, that is what I believe, that is my philosophy.
We won’t go to the next level if we don’t work with that passion, all our staff have that mindset.
5. What inspired you to join the football field?
My family for sure.
6. Do you do this as a hobby, work or other?
Everything is related to sports. It isn’t just about sports, rather, my hobby and life is about helping the youth, but that doesn’t mean they need to be a sportsman, but from any area. My vision is they reach the next level once they get that number one position in Maldives.
If someone had helped Ali Rameez and Zero Degree Nashid, they wouldn’t only be the number one of Maldives, they would be the number one of the whole world. Look at Lai, only 18 years old, her family is happy, if she works hard for the next 7 years, she can become a renowned singer.
I want to change the mindset of from becoming number one in Maldives to reach beyond.
“Be more hungry, ALWAYS, and raise your bar and hang it at the level you are scared of, so that you can reach that point”
7. What achievements have u had?
We targeted to get 10 medals by 2015 and we got 9. We hadn’t worked for such a target before. From then, the trend changed completely. We changed history and mindset of the general public. I think I have achieved that goal.
8. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned?
I cannot catch a fish with the type of sandwich that I love, but with dead bait even if it smells rotten.
You cannot make a mischievous kid listen to you by writing him a letter, but you need to go to the same level as him to convince him. There is a way to convince everyone.
So Athletes and youth can be convinced by trying to understand their minds and approaching and sitting with them to explain, I cannot convince them the way I want, but only through understanding their perceptions.
9. What do you feel most proud of?
10. What was your dream job growing up?
I always wanted to become someone big in the Football field.
11. If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?
Now I think that if I could have lived a different life in my youth, I could have reached a higher level. Even I was happy with my life then, playing for Valencia although I did not reach a global level.
That is why I’m trying to provide that opportunity to the youth today, to become an international success and be known worldwide.
12. Do you ever think of changing your career? Why/why not?
No. That is not in my blood. I wouldn’t change it, I can’t be something I am not.
13. If you were not what you are today, what would you aspire to be?
If I wasn’t in sports, I would be dead or I would be in jail.
The way Male’ was 15 – 18 years before, we were in the generation of drugs and gangs. Many of my school friends went to jail and was completely dragged into addiction.
As I wasn’t much into studies, the only reason I wasn’t dragged into these things were because I was in sports.
14.Two words that describes you the best
“What if”, that curiosity is what drives me
15. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I have been to 79 countries. So I don’t really know. I just want to live here in Maldives.
16. What are your goals for the next five years?
To bring achievements to Maldives at a global level. And take 3-5 athletes to the Olympic level. Also, to bring at least 15 to 20 medals in 2019, Indian Ocean Regional games.
17.What is your greatest strength & weakness?
Strength is if I give a commitment, I believe I can do anything.
Weakness is if I set a goal I can’t hear anyone else, I’m a deaf frog. I can’t hear what others say.
The story of the deaf frog is; a group of frogs were trying to get to the highest point of a pole at the top of the mountain. It was a very stormy and rainy day and some frogs were crying and shouting at the bottom. Hearing this commotion, most climbed down out of fear.
However, there was this one frog who slowly climbed to the top. It triumphed over its victory and came clambered down.
The others started congratulating him, but only then did they realize that he was deaf. He hadn’t heard all the screams of fear and thunder, thus there was no external factor influencing him to stop.
So I guess it is both a good and bad thing.
18.What was one of your most defining moments in life?
The day we finished the Indian Ocean Island games and came home to Male’. We had accomplished a plan that was made 4 years ago.
You wouldn’t even believe it, but I even wrote the time we would departure and what we would be eating for breakfast and how, where and when the team would go.
19.What was the most remarkable thing you’ve ever done?
‘Training with Mv Champs’ it was one of the biggest marketing event.
We had challenged Ministers, companies and even the 4 presidents. There was no one who wouldn’t participate.
When we started, I was the first one who had trained with an athlete, and I took pictures and put on FB, people said I was just showing off, no one knew my intention except for the photographer. People didn’t believe that such a hype could be created.
20.What do you, personally, spend most of your time on?
21.What is your favorite childhood memory?
My dad was working as a resort manager, and on weekends, my brother and I would go visit him.
During the morning breakfast, dad would tell stories of his life and how he did everything. That breakfast is something that I still miss very much.
22. Who is the most important person in your life?
My Mom, she is my everything.
23. What advice would you give your younger Self?
Be more goal oriented.
24. Who is the most influential person to you?
25. How do you want to be remembered?
"I don’t want to be remembered"
The biggest problem is that everyone is working to build a monument of themselves. That isn’t what I want. The world is going to destruction because of that. People are too selfish to build their monument.
"I just want people to be inspired to help others"
26. What changes do you think should be made to improve our society?
Youth should leave their ego and selfishness.
A big car or a big bed isn’t everything, little things matter so much more. Try to help others. As a human, respect others no matter their view. There is nothing you will lose.
27. What is the message that you want to tell our community /world?
The Fun Qs:
1.Have you ever been in a fist fight?
Once I had to stop playing because of a fight that broke out during a football event. Many including me were taken to jail that day.
2. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
I would take a book definitely, to read. Next would be a water bottle, and for the third item, my phone.
3. What’s the most interesting thing about you that no one knows?
I don’t want people to know.
4. What were you like in high school?
I was a very stubborn and hard headed boy.