x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE-born runner could compete in Olympics for Great Britain

Former Abu Dhabi resident ran in 800 metres in the Dubai Open at the Dubai Police Officers' Club.

DUBAI // Mukhtar Mohammed has already qualified within the required time to represent his country at this summer's Olympic Games in London.

Yet, despite being born in Abu Dhabi, the 21 year old will - if selected - run the 800 metres for Great Britain.

Mohammed, who lived in the UAE capital for 10 years before moving to Somalia and then the UK, ran Friday night in the Dubai Open at the Dubai Police Officers' Club.

Having arrived in the Emirates on Thursday from Muscat, he was hoping to better his personal best time of one minute, 45.9 seconds.

"It didn't happen, but it's OK. I'll focus now on the next race," he said, after finishing third behind Egypt's Hamada Mohamed and Toafik Hakhloufi of Algeria.

"I was 1:47-something, which is OK as it's the start of the season. I know this is the first race and you can't judge anybody on a first race."

Mohammed's personal best is four tenths inside the Olympic "B" standard qualifying time, but three tenths short of the Games' "A" standard. Yesterday's winner qualified within the "A" standard while setting an Egyptian record.

Meeting the "A" standard brings several benefits, most crucially automatic qualification to the Olympics and all expenses paid for by the participant's national Olympic committee.

Qualifying at "B" standard means the athlete is an option if there is a lack of athletes globally to have qualified at "A".

The options are then selected to produce more depth to the field.

As well as qualifying within the required time, athletes must also be selected by their NOC to represent their country.

"I hope to go to London," said Mohammed, who lives in England.

"I have trials in June and hopefully can finish top three and then get selected. I have already made the "B" standard, but I want to get the "A" just to be on the safe side."

 

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

 

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