Khadija leading the way
DUBAI — Shaikh Sultan bin Mijrin, chairman of the UAE Weightlifting Association said the great achievement of UAE weightlifter Khadija Mohammed who qualified for the 2012 London Games is in fact a true gold medal which the country has won ahead of the Games.
Speaking to newsmen at the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare offices in Dubai on Thursday, Mijrin said they are delighted to have a women athlete of her caliber thanks to the strong support and backing of the wise leadership. “I would like to thank The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union and of the Family Development Foundation, and Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the National Olympic Committee, and all members of the sports leadership and community for all what they have been doing to enhance the march of the women sport and the Weightlifting Association,” he said.
“The purpose of this news briefing is to highlight the progress of the women weightlifting squad. Our girls did the better work by qualifying for the Games after a tough competition which was contested by 14 Asian nations. And despite our players being less experienced and too young as compared to their opponents, they have shown great determination and enthusiasm to do the country proud in South Korea three months ago,” he added.
Regarding the poor preparation of the UAE athlete, Faisal Al Hammadi, secretary general of the UAE Weightlifting Association said the lack of funds and delayed salaries made things worse.
“Khadija is a promising young lady and there’s more to come from her,” he confirmed.
Khadija Mohammad became the second UAE woman to represent her country in the Olympic Games after Shaikha Maitha bin Mohammed Al Maktoum who flew her country’s flag in the 2008 China Games.
The top athlete will compete in the 75kg category in the upcoming weightlifting competition of the London Games after having finished fifth in the Asian Championships in South Korea last month.
Meanwhile, UAE will be represented by 32 athletes from football seven disciplines. Shaikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum will lead the three-member shooting charge besides Shaikh Juma Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum and Dhaher Al Eryani. The three athletes will compete in the skeet, double trap and trap respectively. Shooting is the only event the UAE has won an Olympic medal in, with another member of Dubai’s ruling family, Shaikh Ahmad bin Mohammad bin Hasher Al Maktoum, claiming gold in the double trap in Athens in 2004. Swimmer Mubarak Salem Humaid and Al Derei from judo were selected after the UAE received wildcard invitations to take part. The soccer squad, which will make up the majority of the UAE contingent, won a place at the Olympics for the first time and will face hosts Great Britain, Senegal and Uruguay.