The 21 athletes that will represent Qatar at this year’s Youth Olympic Games have now arrived in Nanjing. Qatar’s athletes will compete across seven disciplines, with Abdulrahman Mohsen Al Naggar kicking off Team Qatar’s action in the Table Tennis today on the first day of competition.
The athletes have been training hard ahead of what will be the biggest test of their careers to date, with many attending international training camps to optimise their preparations. Gymnast Rahma Al Dulaimi, the youngest member of Team Qatar at just 14 years old, has been putting the final touches to her routines at the Longjiang Gymnasium in Nanjing, where her competition will take place.
Speaking from the Youth Olympic Games Athlete’s Village, she said:
“It is an honour to be representing Qatar at the Youth Olympic Games and I will savour every moment. This is my first taste of an international multi-sport competition and I am really enjoying the opportunity to meet athletes from different sports and countries. I know that this experience will prepare me well for my future sporting career and I hope that this is the first of many such events that I will compete in.”
The Artistic Gymnastics finals take place on 20th August, the same day that the Handball competition begins. The Qatari Handball team return to Nanjing following victory in the Asian Youth Games last year, an accomplishment which gave them automatic qualification for this year’s Youth Olympic Games.
“Success at the Asian Youth Games last year was an amazing feeling”, said captain, Abdulaziz Bou Handi. “It will be an extremely tough competition but we have been training relentlessly to ensure we are in the best possible shape to beat them. We really hope that the Nanjing magic from last year lives on and we cannot wait to get started.”
The athletes, together with the rest of the Qatar delegation, took part in the official Welcome Session in the Athlete’s Village. With the theme, ‘Let’s Get Together’, the session enables the 204 teams from around the world to come together and experience the unique Olympic spirit from the very start. It also marked the debut of the Youth Olympic Games ‘Youth Ambassadors’, who have been selected by their National Olympic Committees to help the athletes from their national teams get the most out of the Games Time experience.
Qatari Youth Ambassador, Hannah Al-Bader said:
“I am extremely proud to have been given the chance to represent Qatar as a Young Ambassador. It was fantastic to meet so many teams from all over the world tonight, from different cultures and backgrounds. Part of my role is to encourage the young Qatari athletes to participate in as many culture and education programmes as possible, ensuring that they maximise their experience at the Youth Olympic Games. I am excited by the opportunity to spread the YOG DNA and help our athletes inspire other budding athletes back at home.”
YOG DNA is the theme of the Youth Olympic Games, which aim to use the power of the Games to inspire young people from around the globe to participate in sport and practice the Olympic values. The Young Ambassadors are joined by Athlete Role Models and International Olympic Committee appointed YOG Ambassadors, including sporting heroes Chad le Clos, Yelena Isinbaeva and Yao Ming, who will all help to inspire the young athletes, pass on the Olympic spirit and ensure that they are able to use the Games as preparation for their future careers.
Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, said: “On behalf of the Qatar Olympic Committee, I wish all our young athletes the best of luck in the Youth Olympic Games. These are the next generation of Qatar’s sporting heroes and we hope that they will show the youth of Qatar what can be achieved through hard work, dedication and perseverance. They are a true inspiration and we hope that they will use their experience as a springboard for the 2016 Olympic Games and beyond.”
The Youth Olympic Games began last night with an Opening Ceremony. Competition begins today, 17th August and runs until 28th August when the Closing Ceremony also takes place. Qatari athletes will be competing in Table Tennis, Artistic Gymnastics, Gymnastics Trampoline, Shooting 10m Air Rifle, Equestrian, Men’s Handball and Swimming. This is the second edition of the Youth Olympic Games. The inaugural Games took place in Singapore in 2010.
The full Qatari team is as follows:
1. Idriss Yousef – Men’s 800m Athletics
2. Hamad Al-Qadi - Equestrian
3. Rahma Al-Dulaimi – Artistic Gymnastics
4. Nadine Wahdan – Gymnastics Trampoline
5. Abdullah Al-Sunaidi – Shooting – 10m Air Rifle, 60 shots
6. Waleed Daloul – Swimming (50m butterfly)
7. Abdulrahman Mohsen Al Naggar - Table Tennis
8. Handball – Men’s team (14 athletes)
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