Spectators cheered in the stands as the gold medal-winning Qatari players shook hands with their beaten Bahraini rivals and said “hard luck” to them after their thrilling handball final at the Asian Games Friday.
The Bahrainis were shattered after failing to break Qatar’s dominance in the sport and many of them were seen sobbing after the final buzzer sounded.
But they were in for a pleasant surprise when Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) president HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani instructed the victorious Qatar players to cheer them up a little.
Sheikh Joaan, who was in the stands, was seen gesturing to the celebrating Qatari players, telling them to walk up to the Bahrainis and empathise with them on their defeat.
The sporting gesture underlined Qatar’s commitment to the ideals of sportsmanship and brotherhood despite the ongoing illegal blockade in which Bahrain is a party along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.
Before the final, members of the Qatar squad had said they would not mix politics with sports and would play the match with the principles of sportsmanship and fair play in mind.
That reflected in the match yesterday as it was played in true sporting spirit, and although the Bahrainis lost, they’d be happy to take home the best wishes of the Qatari players along with the silver medal.