By Sports Reporter
Rower Tala Abujbara and shooter Mohamed al-Rumaihi were named as Qatar’s joint flag bearers for today’s opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. The pair will share the honours following a directive by the International Olympic Committee in March 2020 where each team should have a flag bearer to represent both genders.
Tala, who will become the first Qatari female athlete to represent Qatar in rowing at the Olympics, said that she is proud of her participation at the Tokyo Games. The 29-year-old will be in action today in the women’s singles sculls heats at the Sea Forest Waterway.
“I would like to do my best and work constantly on developing my skills because reaching a top level requires great effort and hard work. This will only be achieved through perseverance and diligence. Rowing is very difficult and arduous,” she said.
Tala, who had lived in Japan for three years, said she was delighted to be back in the country of which she has only good memories.
“I am very happy to be back again. Japan is my second country. I love the Japanese culture and its people very much. The atmosphere is very wonderful in Tokyo, whether in the Olympic Village or the training centres and everyone here is doing their best. The Japanese volunteers’ effort to serve the athletes reflects the kindness of the Japanese people as they are very friendly people,” the rower said.
Regarding her involvement in the sport of rowing, Tala said: “I started rowing during my university studies and I loved this sport as it is outdoors and on the water as I train on a daily basis. I started with a large team and within a group that posed a challenge for me to continue and be able to achieve achievements.”
Tala holds a bachelor degree in biology and neuroscience from Williams College in the United States. She has also received a master’s degree from HEC Paris University in management and worked at Aspire Academy previously. Currently she is working as a management consultant.
Meanwhile, during the opening ceremony, Greece will be followed by the Refugee Olympic Team which had a short training camp in Doha, Qatar before arriving to Tokyo.
The refugee team is comprised of athletes who were displaced after fleeing their home country. On the other hand, Qatar’s Bashayer al-Manwari arrived in Tokyo yesterday.
Al-Manwari will be the first Qatari athlete to hit the track at women’s 100m event. She started out as a triple jump athlete, then found herself in short distance running. Al-Manwari is a West Asian champion in 2013 and five-time GCC champion.
Beach volleyball duo of Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan continued their training session at the Shiokaze Park ahead of their opening match against Adrian Heidrich and Mirco Gerson of Switzerland on Sunday.
On the other hand, al-Rumaihi trained at Asaka Shooting Range. The trap shooter will begin his campaign on July 28.
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