Weight of Emirati hopes on lone UAE woman athlete
DUBAI // Khadija Mohammed will become only the third woman to represent the UAE at the Olympic Games after being nominated for the country's lone qualifying spot in weightlifting.
Khadija's participation at the London Olympics was confirmed yesterday by the National Olympic Committee, who announced the names of six of the 32 athletes who are expected to represent the country at the 2012 Games.
The UAE won a qualifying spot in the women's weightlifting competition after their team of Khadija, Yasmin Abbas, Alanood Faraj, Latifa Al Marri, Alia Al Balooshi and Abeer Faraj finished fifth at the Asian Championships in South Korea last month.
"We are extremely proud of this historic achievement," Sheikh Sultan bin Mejren, the president of the UAE Weightlifting Federation, told reporters at the time.
"It's such a massive achievement considering how young they are and the fact that women were only introduced to this sport in our country three years ago. We were placed fifth among 15 countries … teams who have been in the sport for 20 or 30 years. We earned one individual spot, but we earned it as a result of the collective effort of a team."
Khadija had the best result in South Korea, lifting 50kg in the snatch and 60kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 110kg, which helped her finish seventh in the 75-kilogram class.
She will follow two Emirati women who competed in the Beijing Games four years ago: Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed in women's under-67kg taekwondo competition, and Sheikha Latifa bint Ahmed in individual showjumping.
The other athletes confirmed yesterday for London included Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum (skeet), Sheikh Juma bin Dalmook (double trap) and Dhaher Al Eryani (trap), who will take part in the shooting events after qualifying through the Asian championships.
Also, Mubarak Salem Al Beshir and Humaid Al Derei have received wild cards for the swimming and judo competitions, respectively.
The UAE have also qualified for the men's football competition and Mahdi Ali, the coach, has until July 8 to announce his 18-man squad. They are currently in Switzerland for a training camp.
The country also hopes two other women will qualify for the Olympics, the distance runners Alia Mohammed Saeed and Bethlem Desalyn.
Ahmed Al Kamali, the UAE Athletics Federation chief, is confident that Mohammed Abdullah (triple jumper) and Ali Obaid Shirook (400m hurdles) will make the grade before the July 8 deadline for qualifying marks.