Dubai: The UAE will have one last chance before this weekend’s qualifying deadline to enter a record three athletes in the track and field competition at the London Olympics.
Bethlehem Desalegn Belayneh and Mohammad Abbas booked their places after qualifying for the women’s 1,500 metres and men’s triple jump respectively at separate athletic meets in June.
Now with the July 7 deadline looming large, Alia Saeed Mohammad will attempt to go under the required time 15 minutes in the 5,000m at the last IAAF-accredited meet in Germany on Saturday.
“I am convinced we can have a third athlete in London,” said Ahmad Al Kamali, President of UAE Athletic Federation (UAEAF) and an executive member of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations).
“Alia has shown good improvement in the past couple of months. We have been in touch with her and the coach and she’s told us that she has been feeling good about her event during all the athletic meetings that she has participated in so far.
“Either way, Germany is going to be her final chance to get a ticket to London and I am sure she will show a huge increase in her confidence.”
Mohammad Abbas jumped 16.79 metres during a qualifying event in Bulgaria in June, falling short of the qualifying standard by six centimetres. However, he still goes to the Games as he is the only male athlete from the UAE in contention.
“But Mohammad Abbas will be trying to achieve the qualifying distance of 17 metres by participating at an international meeting scheduled to be held in Greece this weekend,” Al Kamali said.
The UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC) recently announced a major part of its delegation for London.
The confirmed names are those of three shooters, one judo player, one swimmer, a weightlifter and the footballers.
“For sure, this is the largest delegation to an Olympic Games from the UAE,” Al Kamali said.
“And for me, this is a crucial time, not just for UAE track and field but also for the country as we will know the exact nature of our delegation to the Olympics within the next couple of days.”