Agencies Rio de Janeiro
The next few days are expected to be very exciting as Team Qatar bid for Olympic glory in handball, skeet shooting and track events among others.
Qatar’s handball team will meet Tunisia today at 3:30pm Doha time in Rio’s Future Arena. The team cruised to victory against Croatia on Sunday, but encountered stiffer resistance against reigning Olympic and world champions France on Tuesday.
Tomorrow is shaping up to be one of the most exciting days for Team Qatar in Rio 2016 yet. Skeet shooters Nasser al-Attiyah, who won bronze in London 2012 and competes in the Games for the sixth consecutive time, and Rashid Hamad, a veteran of 18 world championships and the Beijing 2008 Games, will compete at 3:30pm Doha time at the Olympic Shooting Centre.
Ahead of the competition, al-Attiyah said: “As athletes we count down the days to the Olympics – it is very different from any other Championship in the world. We’re doing our absolute best to prepare and we have been training intensively since our arrival in Rio on July 27. After winning the bronze medal in London 2012 I hope to win one of the medals here in Rio.”
Making his Olympic debut, and marking Qatar’s return to the Olympic weightlifting since 2008, Fares Ibrahim will compete in the Men’s 85kg weightlifting event at 4pm Doha time tomorrow. The 18-year-old secured his Olympic qualification after winning two bronze medals in the World Junior Championship in June 2016.
Commenting on his hopes for Rio 2016, Ibrahim said: “I’m concentrating and I’m aiming to achieve one of two things in Rio 2016 – either win a medal or at least be one of the top six competitors. Human beings are infinitely powerful. I always remind myself of this when I compete – if you truly believe you are capable of lifting the weight then you will.”
Meanwhile, the track team will compete in their first heats of Rio 2016, with Musab Balla and Abubaker Haidar competing in the Men’s 800m heats between 4-4:37pm Doha time. This marks the second Olympic appearance for Balla after he competed in London 2012, and will be the first ever for Haidar. Haider is a recent graduate of Aspire Academy – one of three Aspire Academy alumni competing for Team Qatar in Rio 2016 – the other two being high jumper Mutaz Barshim and hammer thrower Ashraf Elseify.
Speaking before his competition, 19-year-old Haidar said: “Qualifying for Rio was an indescribable feeling and it gave me a big push to do the best I can to represent Qatar, my family and friends in the best way possible. My wish is to get to as far as I possibly can – to the final. Once you get there, anyone has a chance to get a medal.”
Also competing tomorrow is Abdalelah Haroun, who will race in the 400m heats between 5-5:47am Doha time. Haroun holds the world record for the indoor 500m race which he set in the 2015 World Championships and has had a stellar year so far in the Diamond League.
“It is such a big thing to compete in the Olympics for the first time and I have to do my absolute best,” Haroun said. “In Rio, my hopes are to win a medal. My biggest competitor will definitely be LaShawn Merritt — but I’ve trained hard so I will give it all I have.”
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