We talk to the world’s second fittest teen about why young people here should strive for their goals
Seven months ago, Amir Fahmy was just a teenager who liked doing the occasional CrossFit session a few times a week.
But after being spotted during a workout by coach Elliot Simmonds, the 15-year-old has gone on to become the first teen from the UAE and Middle East to compete in the CrossFit Games among the world’s best athletes – and he took home silver on his first try.
We sit down with Amir to talk training, overcoming obstacles – literally – and representing the UAE in sport.
Your journey to the CrossFit Games only started a few months ago and now you’re the second fittest teen in the world… Tell us how it all started
I was just attending CrossFit [Yas] a few times a week – I also liked to play rugby and box. In January, my coach (Elliot) saw some potential in me, and he said he’d train me as long as I put in the work. From then on, I quit everything else and trained two to three hours every day.
That’s a lot to take on alongside school work. Was it hard to be that disciplined?
To be honest, no! I’m not the type of person to just sit and play video games; I’ve always been interested in fitness. Right now, I’ve got three weeks off to rest after the Games and it’s killing me – I just want to get back in the gym and train!
You smashed your opposition at the Games when you tackled the sprint obstacle course – what was it about this event that appealed to you?
When we found out there was going to be an obstacle course, I just lit up – it has a lot to do with how I was brought up. In my garden as a kid, we had this amazing climbing frame with monkey bars and I was always climbing ropes… I knew from then that this was going to be a good event for me.
You did amazingly well at so many of the events, but what’s your strategy when something’s not going quite as well as you’d hoped?
My coach always says you can only control what you’re doing. You can’t let what [other competitors] are doing bother you – once you start looking at what everyone else is doing, it’s going to throw you off.
Placing as the second fittest teen on Earth is a pretty big deal for someone so young. Did you have any inkling that you could go this far?
After the third day, I was tied for second place, and there were only four points between me and the person behind me. That’s when I thought I could make it. I knew the next day would be the hardest workout of my life. It gave me the drive I needed to really push myself. I’ve never felt the way I did when I stood on that podium. It didn’t even feel real. All the hard work I’d put in and got something out of it – it’s just the best feeling in the world.
Some may say you’re inspiring a generation of young kids here. How does it feel to be a role model?
I never really thought of myself as a role model – I’m just doing something I love. What I would say to kids here is that if you want something enough, you can achieve that if you put in the work. If anyone sees me and they want to be the next CrossFit Games competitor or athlete or anything, they alone have the power to make that happen.
WORDS Camille Hogg