Dubai: Noura Al Breiki and Abdullah Al Hammadi, the fencing duo who are among an elite cadre of UAE athletes participating in the Nad Al Sheba Ramadan Sports Tournament, have set their sights on the biggest stage of them all — the Olympic Games.
The General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and the UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC) announced a list of athletes in January this year who have the potential to deliver an elusive second Olympic gold medal for the UAE.
The two fencers, who are on the shortlist, have set about their task with steely resolve, with the ultimate goal of achieving a qualifying at the Olympic Games — be it in Tokyo next year or the next Games in Paris 2024.
“Hopefully, we are making the progress we need to,” Al Breiki told Gulf News during a chat.
“One year is a bit too shot for both of us. That means that while Tokyo 2020 looks elusive, Paris 2024 is more of a practical dream,” she added.
Not yet 18, Al Breiki — coached by Egypt’s Fathi Al Haffour — is well aware of what lies ahead in her chase to glory.
“Qualifying for an Olympic Games can never be easy and I am ready for anything that is thrown at me from now on,” she added.
A couple of months away from completing her high school, the 17-year-old’s next challenge will be to pursue further studies in aviation engineering.
“Currently I practice six times a week, and after school is over things are definitely going to get a lot more tough. But I am ready for anything. My coach believes in me and the authorities have put their trust and confidence in me. I need to factor in everything and ensure I deliver on the highest stage,” Al Breiki affirmed.
Her clubmate Al Hammadi is more pragmatic in his approach.
“Honestly, Tokyo is a bit too soon for us. I think Paris 2024 looks more practical,” Al Hammadi said.
“We’ve been intimated about being part of the elite panel, but after that there has been no word from anyone on the plan we are meant to pursue. I continue with my training with an eye on getting my ranking higher and every day is important. But at the same time it would be better that we all sit down and have a blue print in mind towards qualifying to the Olympics,” he added.
“The ideal thing is a four to five-year period towards an Olympic qualifying and if we get the entire planning in order, we can easily achieve that goal,” Al Hammadi added.