x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Confident Kamali predicts national records in Vietnam

Five of the UAE's athletes return to track and field duty today as the Asian Indoor Championships get under way in Vietnam less than a month after scooping four medals at the Arab Athletics Championships in Syria.

Five of the UAE's athletes return to track and field duty today as the Asian Indoor Championships get under way in Vietnam less than a month after scooping four medals at the Arab Athletics Championships in Syria. Ahmed al Kamali, the UAE Athletics Federation president, said the squad's medal haul at Damascus has boosted their confidence. "I'm optimistic about these championships," he said. "We're hoping for two medals, but I don't know which colour. We expect to set many indoor national records."

One of the three debutants, triple jumper Mohammed Abbas - who won silver in Syria - is an obvious medal contender. The 22-year-old's personal best is 16.32metres which was also the exact gold-winning jump effort at the previous Asian Indoors, in Qatar last year. "He's in good shape and a personal best should be enough for gold," said al Kamali. Elsewhere, the two athletes who represented the UAE at the recent world championships in Berlin, Omar Juma al Salfah and Ali Obaid Shirook, will line-up in the 60m and 400m, respectively.

Al Salfah, 21, won the gold in Syria and would be looking to improve on his fourth place finish in these championships last time. Shirook, 28, a bronze medallist in Doha, is a strong favourite in the two-lap 400m. The 4x400m relay will be the squad's final event in Hanoi, with Soud Abdul Karim and Jasim Saeed joining al Salfah and Shirook in a highly rated quartet. "Our job won't be easy," said al Kamali. "There are 43 countries competing in the athletics - which I believe is the highest ever."

The team are in Vietnam under the umbrella of the National Olympic Committee, who have entered participants in several events away from the track, including bowling, snooker, billiards and archery. @Email:emegson@thenational.ae