Swimmer leads UAE delegation at Olympic Games
RIO DE JANEIRO // Emirati swimmer Nada Al Badwawi led the UAE sports delegation as the country’s flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the 31st Summer Olympics at Maracana Stadium on Friday.
The 18-year-old is the youngest athlete among the 13 Emirati Olympians and one of four women.
Al Badwawi was overcome with emotion and burst into tears of joy as she talked about the pride she felt in representing her country.
“Competing against the world’s best swimmers in the Olympics is special and the Rio Olympics will give me a strong boost to do my best in the upcoming competition,” she said.
Veteran Olympian Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum arrived in Rio yesterday to join Saif bin Fetais and participate in the skeet competition this Friday and Saturday. Sheikh Saeed’s arrival was delayed because of his participation in the skeet shooting world championships, also in Brazil.
Khalid Al Kaabi will take part in the shooting competitions in the preliminary round of the double trap on Wednesday.
Swimmer Yaqoub Al Saadi will participate in the men’s 100-metre backstroke swimming competitions today. Al Saadi credited his coach for preparing all swimmers to reach the Olympic Games.
Rida Ayashi, the Tunisian coach of the UAE Weightlifting National Team, said participation in the Olympics was different from other tournaments.
“Aisha Al Balushi strives to leave her mark as she makes her debut in Rio Olympics,” said Mr Ayashi of the 24-year-old who will participate in the 58 kilogram weight category.
“Although a medal is unlikely, our target is that Ayesha ranks among the world’s top 10 weightlifters.”
In addition to the athletes and coaches, the UAE sports delegation also included officials.
Among them were Ibrahim Abdul Malik, secretary general of the Public Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare, Mohammed Al Kamali, secretary general of the UAE National Olympic Committee, Dawood Al Hajri, assistant secretary general of the UAE National Olympic Committee, Maj Gen Ahmed Al Raisi, chairman of the Olympic Planning Committee, and Abdul Al Dosari, chairman of the Technical Olympic Committee.