Qatar has chalked out a provisonal list of 17 athletes – its largest ever contingent – to participate in the Beijing Olympic Games to be held from August 8 to 24.
The small contingent may include additional names if six Qatari athletes make it through the qualification stages.
Qatari athletes will take part in five disciplines – athletics, fencing, shooting, weightlifting and taekwondo.
Two athletes listed by Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) will take part at the Paralympics to be held between September 6 and 17.
Qatar’s contingent pales in comparison to hosts China, who are expected to field around 600 athletes.
Qatar is taking part in the Olympic Games for the seventh time and in the last edition of the Games in Athens, Qatar sent 16 athletes. Qatar's only two Olympic Games medals came in Barcelona (1992) and Sydney (2000).
The country’s best hope for medals are twenty-one-year-old Nigerian-born Samuel Francis, who will take part in 100m, and Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah, who joins his brother in shooting competitions.
Francis is the fastest man in Asia with his record time of 9.99 seconds.
He became a naturalised Qatari in April 2007, and is competing for his new country since July 2007. He went to Osaka World Championships, but pulled out of the event because of an injury.
Shooter Saleh, who remains Qatar's favourite sports personality, will be taking part in the Olympic Games for third time after competing at 1996 Atlanta and 2004 Athens Games.
A supreme rally driver, Saleh is admired for his multitasking ability having won the FIA Middle East Championship title twice in the last three years.
Qatar's ace foilist Khalid Issa Al Hamadi has won a wild card entry into fencing competitions. The Federation International D'Escrime (FIE) nominated Al Hamadi for the wild card considering his splendid performance in recent times.
Likely list of Qatar athletes for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
1. Mohammad Eisa Al Thawadi - 110m hurdles
2. Samuel Francis - 100m
3. Felix Kekawi Kepur - 5,000m
4. Ahmed Hassan Abdulla - 1,000m
5. Daham Najm Bashir - 1,500m
6. Jamal Bilal Salem - 5,000m
7. Abubaker Ali Kamal - 3,000m steeplechase
8. Rashid Shafi Al Dossari - Discuss Throw
9. Mubarak Hassan Shami - Marathon
10. Yousef Othman Kader - Marathon
11. Nasser Saeed Al Sehouti - Special Needs
12. Ali Abdulla Mohsen - Special Needs
13. Khalid Eisa Al Hamadi - Fencing
14. Abdulaziz bin Saleh Al Attiyah - Shooting
15. Nasser bin Saleh Al Attiyah - Shooting
16. Jaber Saeed Salem - Weightlifting
17. Abdul Kader Hikmat Sarhan - Taekwondo
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