Dubai: Much was expected from the UAE as the young nation made its eighth consecutive appearance at an Olympic Games with its biggest delegation of 24 men and two women competing in six sporting events, including football for the first time.
The team performance did not, however, live up to expectations, although one of the best individual performances coming from teenager Khadija Mohammad, who broke the national record in the women’s under-75 kilogram weightlifting with a total lift of 113kg.
In contrast, the three shooters — Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum in the skeet, Shaikh Juma Bin Dalmouk Al Maktoum in the double trap and Dhaher Al Aryani in the trap — came up with sub-par performances. Shaikh Saeed and Shaikh Juma both ended in 13th place, failing to even qualify for the final stages of the competitions, while Al Aryani, with a total of 107 points, slumped to an overall 32nd place at the end of qualifying.
Humaid Al Derei was another trendsetter as he became the first judoka from the UAE to make it to the Olympics. He was knocked out in the first round of competition in the men’s under-66kg when he was defeated by Mohammad Awad of Egypt.
In swimming, Mubarak Al Beshir failed to secure a personal best as he ended a distant 42nd in a time of 1:05.26 in the men’s 100-metre breaststroke during qualifying.
Much was also expected from the two UAE athletes, Mohammad Abbas Darwish and Betlhem Desalegn in the triple jump and 1,500 metres respectively. But both disappointed with Darwish ending 24th overall with a leap of 16.06 metres, while Desalegn was 14th best in the 1,500m in a time of 4:14.07 after leading for a major part of her heats.
“We need to look forward to the next Olympics in Rio,” said Mohammad Al Kamali, General Secretary of the UAE National Olympic Committee during his review.