20th August 2016 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Team Qatar has ended its Olympic journey on a high note on Friday 19th August, which saw Sheikh Ali Al Thani and Ashraf Elseify both claim sixth place in incredibly strong fields.
Team Qatar’s show jumpers Sheikh Ali Al-Thani and Ali Al-Rumaihi went head to head against some of the best riders in the world in the final two rounds of competition. After a great effort Al-Rumaihi ranked 16th at the end of the two rounds. Sheikh Ali meanwhile aced the two rounds without a single penalty and, having tied with 5 other riders, headed to the jump-off to determine the winners.
During a jump off, riders have to go through a shortened course with a stricter time limit. Sheikh Ali faced extremely experienced riders and placed 6th after an excellent effort in an incredibly close final. Meanwhile Great Britain’s Nick Skelton won gold, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson won silver and Canadian Eric Lamaze took bronze.
Rio 2016 marks the first time Qatar has competed in show jumping in the Olympics and Sheikh Ali’s top ten finish is an achievement in itself. The team made history by qualifying to the Rio 2016 Olympics during the Furusiyya 2015 FEI Nations Cup Jumping series in Abu Dhabi. Facing experienced teams from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar’s equestrians stunned the crowds by grabbing the sole qualifying spot for the Rio 2016 Games.
Speaking after his amazing performance Sheikh Ali said:
“No one expected us to reach the finals in our very first Olympic competition but I knew we were capable of it. The level of competition today was unprecedented – the most number of athletes in an Olympic jump off has been three - we had six today so the horses and the riders in Rio 2016 were exceptional. I am proud to have represented Qatar to the best of my abilities and although we only just finished competing we already have our sights set on Tokyo 2020.”
Following the success of the Equestrian team, Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari, Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), hosted the whole team for a dinner at Bayt Qatar. The QOC's hospitality house for the Rio 2016 Olympics aims to provide a home away from home for the Qatari athletes in Rio and give them a piece of Qatar whilst they compete in the most important competition of their lives.
Also on Friday hammer thrower Ashraf Elseify, 21, exerted great effort in the final against experienced older athletes Dilshod Nazarov who took gold with 78.68m, Ivan Tiskhan who won silver with 77.79m and Wojciech Nowicki who placed third. Elseify placed 6th with an impressive 75.46m best attempt - an outstanding effort at such a young age. Elseify, who holds the junior hammer throw world record and is one of four Aspire Academy Alumni in Team Qatar, improved his distance with almost every throw, demonstrating great potential for the future.
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