From left: Omar Abdul Rahman, Mohammed Bin Darwish and Ahmed Al Tayeb during a press conference at the General Authority of Sports headquarters in Dubai on Tuesday.
Amir Naqvi, Sports Editor
While Shooting and Judo will be the top two disciplines that can possibly fetch medals for the country, the UAE will send
a squad of six athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The squad includes two experienced judokas and one shooter, who represented the nation at the Rio Games in 2016.
Shooter Saif Bin Futtais and judokas Victor Scvortov and Ivan Remarenco will be aiming to make the country proud in Tokyo. But the remaining three UAE athletes — swimmer Yousif Al Matrooshi, and promising track stars Hassan Al Nobi and Fatima Al Hosani — will also be heading to Tokyo with promise of glory.
Since the nation’s first Games participation in the Los Angeles 1984, the UAE has won only two Olympic medals. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum grabbed a historic gold in double trap for the UAE at Athens 2004 and Sergio Toma became only the second medallist for the country when he won bronze in the men’s 81 kg category of the competition at the Rio 2016.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the National Olympic Committee, stressed that the participation of Emiratis in the most important multi-sports forum in the world is an event of great importance as it bears a distinctive and unique character that thousands of athletes await every four years.
Sheikh Ahmed also instructed the UAE delegation to comply with the instructions issued by the Games Organising Committee, which reflects the spirit of solidarity and cooperation among the Olympic family, in line with the belief of the National Olympic Committee in appreciating international cooperation in sport.
The Chairman of the National Olympic Committee expressed his full confidence in the sports delegation participating in the event, referring to the high spirit that is a hallmark of such sports events, and the prominent role played by all those who represented the country.
The official delegation of 18 will leave on July 21. Ahmed Al Tayeb, Director of the Technical and Sports Affairs of the National Olympic Committee, has been named as head of the delegation.
“I am really proud and privileged to be named as Chef de Mission of the delegation for Tokyo Games,” said Tayeb during a press conference held at the General Authority of Sports headquarters in Dubai, to announce the UAE’s Olympic squad.
“The current coronavirus pandemic situation had made life difficult for everyone involved with the Games taking place in the Japanese capital.
“It has been a massive challenge for the host nation to hold the Olympics and for us also to send a squad for the Games under the prevailing pandemic situation.
“Since the outbreak of the pandemic it has been two tough years for us to prepare the athletes and their qualification for the Games. The challenges are not yet over because of the strict safety protocols the athletes have to go through even as they participate in the competitions at Tokyo,” he added.
Talking about the UAE chances at the Olympics, Tayeb said: “We are not promising anything to be fair. We are hopeful from the progress we have seen from Saif (Futtais), Victor (Scvortov) and Ivan (Remarenco) who all have the experience of participating in the high level of competitions.” Nasser Al Tamimi, general secretary of the UAE Wrestling and Judo Federation, expressed confidence in the two judokas taking part in the Games.
“Scvortov and Remarenco have progressed well and are ready to give their best shot in Tokyo. We hope to replicate what judo achieved at Rio,” Tamimi added.
Scvortov and Remarenco will travel to the Games from Moldova where they have been training for the past month.
“At the moment they are based in Moldova where they are attending a training camp at a sports centre. Due to the current situation we don’t want to take any risk, so they will reach Japan directly on July 17,” revealed Tamimi.
The conference was also attended by Mohammed Bin Darwish, Executive Director of the National Olympic Committee, and Omar Abdul Rahman, Director of Sports Affairs at the General Sports Authority.
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