Emirates Golf Federation describe decision to award them membership of the National Olympic Committee as a 'momentous occasion'.
UAE target Arab domination and then Olympic qualification
The Emirates Golf Federation have set their targets on cementing their position as the best team in the Arab world after the boost of being granted membership by the National Olympic Committee.
The membership, endorsed by the committee's General Assembly led by Sheikh Ahmad bin Mohammad who is president of the National Olympic Committee, means the UAE can enter the 2014 Asian Games and have the chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil when the sport will return to the Games for the first time in more than a century. A more realistic target is the 2020 Games.
"With golf returning to the Olympics for the first time in over 100 years, we can always start planning for the biggest sporting spectacle on the Earth. This is a momentous occasion for UAE golf and we are really pleased to be officially recognised by the National Olympic Committee (NOC)," Shaikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, president of the Emirates Golf Federation, said.
In the short term, however, the UAE have set their sights on success at the Pan Arab Golf Championship in September. They finished third in Morocco last year but victory there, on the back of winning gold at the Pan Arab Games last December, would crown the UAE as the undisputed champions of the Arab world.
"That's the immediate target," Saeed Albudoor, general manager of the Emirates Golf Federation, said. "Every member of the team has contributed to the success of the team and I do hope they will continue to work hard and keep the momentum going. The membership to NOC will motivate us to raise the bar and strive for more glory. It will also open up more opportunities for the national teams to compete on the bigger stage like the Asian Games."
In addition to the team success, Ahmed Al Musharrekh won the gold medal in the Pan Arab Games - the best-ever result by a UAE player on the international circuit - while he finished a creditable tied 24th in the Asian Amateur Championship at the Singapore Island Country Club. Hassan Al Musharrekh won the gold medal in the junior individual category at the Pan Arab Golf Championship.
"Our National Junior Programme which we started two years back has also started yielding results with many young Emiratis taking to the sport and showing a vast improvement in their game," Albudoor said. "Already, we have over 100 Emiratis who are enrolled with the programme, and many of them have started competing regionally."
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