Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 July 2019

Time Frame: Going for gold: Sheikha Maitha leads our team

Beijing, 2008. At the Olympics, 204 nations took part in a Games breaking 40 world and 130 Olympic records. It was in Beijing that the UAE also marked a sporting first.

At the opening ceremony, 28-year-old Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid led the UAE Olympic team into Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium – the first woman athlete from an Arabian Gulf country to carry a national flag.

A martial arts champion, Sheikha Maitha entered the taekwondo competition having won the +60 kilogram karate silver medal at the Asian Games in Doha in 2006.

The UAE did not win any medals at the 29th Olympiad, but by forming a part of the national team, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, became part of a tradition that has repeatedly seen members of her family participate in the Games.

In 2004, the UAE struck Olympic Gold for the first time, with Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hasher Al Maktoum’s victory in the men’s double trap shooting competition in Athens.

On Friday, another Maktoum will enter the Olympic arena when Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum shoots for the ultimate prize in the men’s skeet contest, in his fifth consecutive Olympic Games.

* Nick Leech

Updated: August 2, 2016 04:00 AM