Assistant Track Coach to Compete in Olympics


Photo Courtesy of Muhammad Halim

CHS long and triple jump coach Muhammad Halim will represent the U.S. Virgin Islands at the Olympics in Rio this summer.

By Ethan C. Miller, Staff Writer

CHS long jump and triple jump coach Muhammad Halim qualified to compete for the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 2016 Rio Olympics after competing at the Morgan State Legacy meet in April.

Born in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Halim moved to New York when he was 7 years old and began his jumping career in eighth grade. Since then, he hasn’t looked back, winning the 2008 NCAA triple jump championship for Cornell University, and in the same year setting the Ivy League triple jump record at 16.59 meters. Halim held this record for one year until it was broken by Harvard student Samyr Laine. Additionally, Halim competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Although he has lived the majority of his life in the U.S., Halim is proud to represent the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

“It’s always an honor,” Halim said about representing his country. “I have an understanding that it’s bigger than myself.”

Halim set a personal record of 16.99 meters at the Morgan State Legacy meet, breaking his USVI national record and qualifying him for this year’s upcoming Olympic Games in Rio.

According to the St. Croix Source, an online newspaper in St. Croix, his jump tied him for the third best jump in the world this year.

According to Halim, his past success has given him the confidence to continue competing.

“If I hadn’t qualified for London, I’m sure I would have retired from the sport and moved on,” Halim said. “But because I had success there and knew that there was more in the tank I had the confidence in myself to keep going.”

However, confidence alone is not going to win him an Olympic medal. Halim believes that he still has a lot of training left to do.

“I’m going back to a lot of general training, just trying to get a little bit faster and stronger,” Halim said. “I’m doing a lot of sprinting and lifting.”

In addition to his his own training, Halim has trained some of the long/triple jumpers at CHS for three years and additionally is in his first year as an assistant track coach at Walter Johnson. Halim trained senior and long/triple jumper Elisabeth Kan, who fully credits her success in the sport to Halim.

Arguably the best female long/triple jumper currently at CHS, Kan has performed exceptionally this season, putting up the seventh best triple jump and sixth best long jump marks for females in CHS history.

“His love for track has rubbed off on me,” Kan said. “I found a love for the sport that not many people do.”

Halim also coached sophomore jumper Brendan Tan, who said his performance improved greatly this season as a result of Halim’s coaching.

According to Tan, Halim pushed him to work harder by giving unique workouts and drills at practice. Halim has also helped Tan improve by teaching him the mental side of the sport.

Halim’s coaching has enabled Tan to reach his personal best marks this season, which include the fourth best triple jump and the sixth best long jump for males in CHS history. This season, Tan trails senior Ethan Liu, another one of Halim’s trainees, who holds the CHS all-time record for triple jump and fifth place mark for long jump.

According to Halim, his favorite part about coaching is seeing people achieve things that they did not think were possible.

Hopefully this summer, Halim’s mentees as well as the rest of his supporters will be able to see Halim achieve what most people believe to be one of the greatest and most difficult feats that an athlete can achieve.

“I really appreciate all the support that I get,” Halim said.