Dubai: The UAE’s two Asian Athletics Championships medallists say they are feeling in the form of their lives as they prepare for an assault on the international stage later this month.
Betlhem Desalegn Belayneh and Alia Saeed made a brief transit through Dubai late on Monday after their success in the continental event in Pune, India. They now hope to achieve even greater glory at the Monaco Diamond League meeting later this month and the World Athletics Championships in Moscow in August.
Belayneh won a golden double during last week’s 20th Asian Championships at the Shiv Chatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi. She won the UAE’s first ever Asian gold in the 1,500 metres and followed that with a 5,000m victory in a meeting and national record time, while teammate Saeed took silver in the 10,000m.
“I think I have peaked as far as my confidence goes. I tend to look at each race from a completely different angle now,” Belayneh told media at the Terminal 3 Al Majlis suite.
“We have worked hard and the officials, led by our president [Ahmad Al Kamali], have provided us with all the facilities to help us be where we are today.
“The time is now ripe for us to proceed to the next level and that is to see how we match against the best runners in the world.”
Next on the agenda for the two runners is the Diamond League meeting in Monaco — the tenth stop of the IAAF series — on July 19. They will continue with their training regimen in the principality from Wednesday as both are expected to run in the 3,000 metres and 5,000 metres.
They will then travel to Moscow with their coach Abdi Bile for the 14th IAAF World Championships to be held from August 10 to 18.
“We can only do as much as is possible from outside. All credit goes to the two girls for having such a fantastic attitude during training and a sense of self-belief during competition,” former 1,500 metres world champion Bile said.
“It’s entirely up to them now. They’ve reached a certain level in their ability over a period of time and now it is only fair that they test to see how well they can match the best in the world in their events.”