Dubai: Lamia Tariq Malallah Al Farsi, the UAE’s top gymnast, has put aside her disappointment of a cancelled edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to focus on her ultimate goal for gold at the 2026 edition.
2022 hosts Senegal and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) mutually agreed to postpone the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2022 by four years, to 2026. Earlier in July, Senegal President Macky Sall’s proposal was welcomed by IOC President Thomas Bach following in-depth discussions on the subject. This postponement meets the requirement of responsibility and the concern for efficiency imposed by current circumstances.
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The postponement of Dakar 2022 allows the IOC, the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the International Federations (IFs) to better plan their activities, which have been strongly affected by the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, by the subsequent postponements of major international sports events and by the operational and financial consequences of the global health crisis.
“I am sad at the cancellation. I had my focus on a truly big international competition in Dakar but now that that is out of the way, we will need to re-think our programme and re-focus on a calendar for the future,” Lamia told Gulf News.
“I will now get more time to prepare for the next edition in 2026. It also means that I will need to train even harder while getting better in my discipline and skills,” she added.
Lamia, who turned nine this year, is a student of the International School of Choueifat. She has been a consistent performer at the international and domestic stages after marking an entry into the world of rhythmic gymnastics as a five-year-old in 2016.
Her first gold medal came as a six-year-old at the inaugural Dubai International Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships held at the Al Habtoor Indoor Complex in 2017. However, after that Lamia bloomed as she won gold medals at the Open GR Azur International in Nice, France and the Emirates Rhythmic Gymnastics Cup, both in 2017 and the 2018 Armonia Cup in Thessaloniki, Greece.
In addition, Lamia also ended up with a silver medal at the 2017 Winter Cup in Leverkusen, Germany and a bronze at the prestigious Novogorsk Winter Cup in Moscow at the end of 2018.
Last year, the emirati athlete became the youngest winner so far of the prestigious Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Award for Creative Sports. She celebrated this achievement with a gold medal at the International Rhythmic Gymnastics Youth Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
“All these belong to the past. Of course, I do remember all these memories very fondly at times, but these medals are meant to motivate me and keep my confidence intact,” Lamia said.
“These achievements also show me that I am on the right path towards leading the aspirations of my beloved country to the 2026 Youth Olympic Games,” she added.
Lamia has started her regular daily practice sessions following the easing down of lockdown restrictions in Dubai.
“I want to succeed. My coach [former world champion Ksenia Dzhalaganiya of the Dubai Youth Olympic School of Rhythmic Gymnastics] wants me to succeed. My family has always been so supportive. And I am confident that my country will back me all the way in achieving my goals with a medal at the 2026 Youth Olympics,” Lamia stressed.