By Sports Reporter/Doha
Rania al-Naji, the 2018 Youth Arab champion in hammer throw. Right: Huda Mohamed, Qatar’s first-ever Taekwondo (Poomsae) athlete to compete at an Asian Games.
Five Qatari athletes bound for this year’s Asian Games in Indonesia have spoken of their hopes and aspirations during a panel discussion held under the aegis of the Qatar Olympic Committee yesterday.
The Asian Games will be held in Jakarta and Palembang this August with Qatar aiming to better their tally of 10 gold medals won at the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea.
Sixteen-year-old swimmer Abdulaziz al-Obaidly, World Para-Athletics Champion and Paralympic silver medallist Abdelrahman Abdelqader, female Taekwondo athlete, Huda Mohammed, indoor volleyball player Othman Abdelwahed and Youth Arab Champion hammer thrower Rania al-Naji will be amongst a huge Qatari delegation that will see over 250 Team Qatar athletes participate across 30 different sports.
Aspiring young swimmer Abdulaziz al-Obaidly recently set two new personal bests in the 100m and 200m backstroke during Qatar’s Swimming Cup 2018. Al-Obaidly has been gaining strong international experience in this year’s FINA Swimming World Series, which has seen him compete in Seychelles. Speaking about his preparations and hopes for the Asian Games, al-Obaidly said:
“The team and I are getting ready to attend two training camps before heading to Jakarta for the Asian Games. I will be the youngest swimmer amongst my teammates at the Games; this makes me proud and excited to do my best.”
Qatar’s first-ever Para-Athletics World Champion Abdelrahman Abdelqader won gold in the T34 shot put in London last year after his tremendous silver medal, and Qatar’s first-ever Paralympic medal, at Rio 2016.
Para-sport in Qatar has been continuing to grow in strength since Doha hosted the IPC Athletics World Championships in 2015, with teammate Sara Masoud taking silver at both London 2017 and Rio 2016 and becoming Qatar’s first-ever global female medallist in the process will be competing at the Asian Para Games in Jakarta October 2018, which follows the 2018 Asian Games to be held in August.
“The upcoming Asian Para Games will see fierce competition in the shot put event. I will be competing against the best in Asia, but hopeful to set a new personal best. My training in Ramadan is intense, I am always aiming for gold and I’m looking to add a new medal to my collection,” said Abdelqader.
Team Qatar’s taekwondo athletes raised Qatar’s flag high in this month’s Asian Championships, which took place in Vietnam. Team Qatar competed with five athletes and came back home with a bronze medal through Qatar’s Othman Boularas, who also recently won gold at the World Taekwondo Beach Championships. Huda Mohammed will be Qatar’s first-ever Taekwondo (Poomsae) athlete to compete at an Asian Games this summer.
Speaking about her hopes to inspire more young female athletes to follow in her footsteps through her performances, Huda, said: “I started playing taekwondo as a hobby when I was 13; I then gradually took up the sport professionally. Many might think that taekwondo is not a girls’ sport but I highly recommend girls to try the poomsae because it does not require the athlete to compete against an opponent. In Poomsae, an athlete performs a set of motions and therefore the possibility for injuries is very low.”
Team Qatar’s indoor volleyball team came third in the World Cup qualifications 2018 beating the second ranked team in Asia. Othman Abdelwahed is one of the team members to compete at the Asian Games this summer. Speaking ahead of the Games, Abdelwahed said: “We are heading to the Asian Games with a very well experienced team that have competed on an international level and achieved a lot. My team and I are very excited for this summer, hoping to come back home with a medal.”
Team Qatar’s rising star hammer thrower Rania al-Naji recently won a gold medal at the youth Arab Championships in Jordan. With the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships on the horizon, it is a very exciting time for athletics in Qatar and Rania.
“Hammer throw focuses on mixing strength, power and the right techniques for a perfect throw. The sport requires lots of intense training for an athlete to increase their speed in spinning the hammer. I’m currently working on setting the required qualifying distance for the Asian Games and that is through my upcoming training camps,” said Raina.
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