Team Qatar's Olympic and world medalists head to London for 2017 IAAF World Championships

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Olympic silver and bronze medallist, Mutaz Barshim, double World Junior Champion, Ashraf Elseify and rising star in the 400m hurdles, Abderrahman Samba, are amongst an incredibly strong Qatari team that will be competing at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships in Athletics today.

The world’s third largest sporting event kicked off on Friday 4th August at London Stadium, home to the London 2012 Olympic Games. 2000 athletes from 200 nations will compete over 10-days to be crowned the greatest athletes in the world, with five talented Team Qatar athletes hoping to make Qatar proud.

Speaking about Team Qatar, President of the Qatar Athletics Federation and Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari, said:

“We are incredibly proud of all our athletes that have qualified to compete at the London IAAF World Championships, demonstrating years of hard work, dedication and commitment. They are fantastic role models for our young people and we hope that our whole nation will get behind them and show their support as they go head to head with the world’s greatest athletes.

“The strength and depth of the Qatari team competing in London reflects the considerable progress that Qatar has made in athletics development over the years. With Doha hosting the next edition of the World Championships in 2019, we hope that athletics will continue to grow and flourish across the whole of the Middle East as we bring the event to our region for the first time in history. We will work hard over the next two years to maximise this unique opportunity to introduce athletics to new audiences, inspire new athletes and capture the attention of new fans.”

Heading Team Qatar will be Qatar’s greatest-ever athlete Mutaz Barshim, who will be bidding to make further sporting history and become Qatar’s first-ever IAAF World Champion. The current world number one has shown incredible form throughout 2017 and is unbeaten so far this season. Barshim also has his eyes on Javier Sotomayer’s 24-year-old world record after recording the second highest jump in history in 2014. Speaking earlier this year, Barshim said:

“Whenever there is a big, major championship, the only thing I am looking for is the gold, and that is what we are chasing this year. If I stay injury free, I think I would have a very good shot at the world-record. I had two close jumps in two seasons. I hope this will be the season.”

Attempting to win his first major senior medal will be hammer thrower, Ashraf Elseify, who won the World Junior Championships in 2012 and 2014 and holds the junior world-record. Still only 22, Elseify finished an incredible sixth in last year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games in a field of much older and more experienced athletes. Joining Elseify in the field events is fellow Aspire Academy graduate, 21-year-old Ahmed Bedeir, who was the youngest competitor in last year’s Olympic javelin throw final and recently won silver at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships. Speaking ahead of the London World Championships, Bedeir said:

“My goal for London is to reach the final. Once I get there, anything is possible. My biggest competition will definitely be the German team – they have many talented javelin throwers.”

Completing the Team Qatar line-up will be talented young sprinters, 22-year-old Abderrahman Samba and 20-year-old Abdallelah Haroun, who will compete in the 400m hurdles and 400m respectively. Samba, who only took up the 400m hurdles at the beginning of this year, made an immediate mark on the event when he ran the fastest time in the world in March and then went on to storm to victory in May’s Doha Diamond League, ahead of reigning Olympic Champion, Kerron Clement. Meanwhile, Haroun has achieved incredible results at a very young age with silver in 2016’s World Indoor Championships, gold in the 2016 World U20 Championships and gold in the 2015 Asian Athletics Championships.

Abdallelah Haroun will kick off the action for Team Qatar when he competes in the first round of the 400m on the morning of Saturday 5th August. You can follow Team Qatar’s progress in the IAAF World Championships and send your messages of support on the QOC’s social media channels under the hashtag #YallaQatar.

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