Meet the Young Leaders: Hai Cohen

Hai Cohen

As part of our ongoing series, we have interviewed members of the European Athletics Young Leaders Youth Team. They were all nominated by their federations to take part in the most recent Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam, held in conjunction with the 2016 European Athletics Championships, and all are recognised as potential leaders of our sport in years to come.

The European Athletics Young Leaders Community is a platform for active young and ambitious people who are interested in developing work and life skills, getting involved in community service and making new friends.    

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Hai and I am 25 years old. I am an athlete and I specialise in the 400m hurdles. I won the Israeli national title at that distance in 2012 and 2017 and I hold a few national records as well. Away from the track, I am also the Israeli Athlete Committee Chairman.

How did you become involved with the European Athletics Young Leaders Community?

I volunteered in my country and I made the first Israeli Athlete Committee. After that, I was sent by my federation to the European Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam 2016.

What is your favourite thing about athletics?

My favourite thing is the drama, the excitement and the mechanics of the athlete.

Who is your athletics hero and why?

Felix Sanchez is definitely my sporting hero. He won his second Olympic gold medal in the 400m hurdles when he was 36 years old and after eight bad years of injures and bad luck after winning gold in Athens 2004.

Which areas of the sport are you particularly interested in?

I’m most interested in the hurdles, sprints and jumps.

If you could change one aspect of the sport, what would you change and why?

The only one thing that I would change would be to add to a World U23 Championships to the IAAF competitions. This would give another big stage and another opportunity to second level athletes and athletes who are making the transition from U20 level.

Where do you see yourself within the sport in ten years’ time?

I see myself working in teaching, coaching and as a manager.

What has been your highlight of Young Leaders so far?

Without doubt, it was the European young leader forum in Amsterdam 2016.