The Olympic Games Countdown begins! Coming this summer in South America is one of the biggest sporting events of the year—The Olympic Games! The 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be held from 5 to 21 August at Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The official list of countries and athletes has been confirmed.
There will be 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to take part and compete, including the United Arab Emirates, which currently has five confirmed participants (Independent Olympian qualified athletes). Yet, the UAE National Olympic Committee is expecting a few more athletes to qualify before the Games, if granted by the International Olympic Committee.
Among the men, Dubai-born sailor Adil Khalid is ready for Rio 2016, as is UAE road cycling specialist Yousif Mirza who has been confirmed for the Games. As for the shooting events, skeet shooter Shaikh Saeed bin Maktoum will be there; this will be his fifth straight Olympics along with Khalid Al Kabi and Saif bin Futtais (double trap shooter) who are likely to be part of the contest. UAE judoka Humaid Al Derei also has sights on Rio among others in judo, such as Scvortov, Toma and Remarenco.
As for the women, Emirati female swimmers Nada Al Bedwawi and Alia Al Shamsi are set to go to the Rio Olympics. Their coach Mohammed Ismail says these young, talented UAE swimmers are going to compete against world-class athletes but he is sure they’ll do well and achieve some recognition for their country. They are among the UAE’s most promising young athletes.
Other female Emiratis at 2016 Rio Olympics include the two Ethiopia-born distance runners, Bethlem Desaleyn and Alia Saeed Mohammed, who joined the UAE federation team and were both eligible for naturalization under the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) transfer of allegiance rules, said Ahmed Al Kamali, the president of the UAE Athletics Federation. Alia (in the 10,000m event) and Desalegn (in the 1,500m and the 5,000m) have already qualified to represent the UAE at the Games. They are UAE’s biggest hope to capture a medal in Rio, according to Al Kamali, who expects them to go the distance!
The UAE National Olympic Committee is targeting success at the Games and is hopeful by the progress made by all its athletes, Al Kamali said. He hopes the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games will bring an improvement upon the performance at last Summer Games in London and possibly a medal, as the Emirati competitive squad is strong in several of the multi-sport events.
Rio Olympics brings the emergence of Emirati female athletes; for years now, the UAE has been mindful of gender equity in sports and has equalized the opportunities for both men and women being part of the UAE national team.
Ahead of summer’s Rio de Janeiro 2016, the question is who will carry the UAE flag at Olympics opening ceremony on behalf of the Emirates delegation. Four years ago, it was Saeed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a member of the Dubai ruling family, whose sport shooter career has been impressive. He is one of the UAE’s most illustrious sportsmen, so it could indeed be Shaikh Saeed. However, as of today, the UAE flag-bearer for Rio 2016 Olympic Games has yet to be decided; but, could there be a female flag-bearer at this year’s Games? We’ll have to wait and see.
Be sure to tune in and follow this major international sporting event that occurs once every four years and brings many competitions (42 Olympic sports) in which over 10,000 athletes from around the world will participate in a variety of events (306 over the course of 19 days of competition) at different venues (37) throughout the region.
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