By Sports Reporter
Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) President HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani attended the opening ceremony as flag bearers Tala Abujbara and Mohamed al-Rumaihi led the national contingent during the athletes parade at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics opening ceremony in Tokyo, on Friday.
HE Sheikh Joaan was accompanied by the QOC Secretary-General Jassim bin Rashid al-Buenain as the opening ceremony was also attended many other dignitaries including the Emperor of Japan Naruhito.
Fifteen athletes are representing Qatar in Tokyo with rower Tala participating in women’s single sculls heats on Friday. The 29-year-old finished fifth.
Tala, who was in lane number three, failed to match the pace set by others and finished outside the top three in a time of 8min 6.29sec. The winning time in the heats at the Sea Forest Waterway was 7:37.91 by Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig. Canada’s Carling Zeeman (7:40.72) and Namibia’s Maike Diekmann (7:56.37) followed in that order. The top three qualified for the quarter-final.
By participating at the Sea Forest Waterway, Tala made history becoming the first Qatari rower to compete at Olympics. Tala still has a chance to make the last eight needing to place in the top two in the repechage race on Saturday. Her race is scheduled for 8.30am (2.30am Doha time). The Qatari rower was excited to take part in her first Olympics. “It feels amazing. When I woke up this morning, I was really excited, more excited than nervous. I raced at the Olympics. It’s been a dream of mine for many years now. I’ve nothing but positive energy today,” she said.
About the conditions during her event, Tala said: “The weather is the best we’ve had since we arrived over our training days. Not too many waves today, a bit of cross headwind at the end, but I can’t complain too much.”
She said becoming a joint flag bearer with al-Rumaihi for Qatar was a proud moment for her. “I’m extremely proud. It’s a huge honour. I never thought it would be possible. I’m very humbled by the opportunity,” she added.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s beach volleyball duo of Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan are gearing up to open their Olympic campaign tomorrow. They will play against Adrian Heidrich and Mirco Gerson of Switzerland in the opening match.
Qatar’s Judoka Ayoub El Idriss will begin his campaign in Men’s 66 event also tomorrow while Abdulaziz al-Obaidly will participate in Men’s 200m breaststroke swimming event on Tuesday. The official training sessions of men’s trap event will begin on Monday with Qatar’s Mohamed al-Rumaihi to begin his campaign at Tokyo Olympics on July 28.
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