UAE athletes peak in time for Asian Games

Our performance is good considering that we are less than two months away from the Asian Games..., says Ahmad Al Kamali.

National team clinch two gold, three silver and two bronze medals in West Asian Athletics Championships

Dubai: A top official from the UAE Athletics Association (UAEAA) has expressed confidence following the country’s seven-medal haul at the West Asian Athletics Championships that concluded in Syria last weekend.

“I think our athletes are peaking just in time for the Asian Games next month,” Ahmad Al Kamali, President, UAEAA told Gulf News from Aleppo yesterday.

The UAE athletics team arrived in Dubai last night with seven medals that comprised two golds, three silvers and two bronze. All these medals, except one, came from the men’s team, while Mariam Mubarak was the lone winner in the women’s division with a bronze in the 1,500 metres.

“Our performance is good considering that we are less than two months away from the Asian Games. We wanted to use this meeting [West Asian Games] to see where we stand, and we can say we are hopefully on the right path,” Al Kamali added.

The 16th Asian Games will be held in Guangzhou, China from November 12 to 27.

The UAE’s two gold medals came through Mohammad Abbas in men’s triple jump and in the men’s 4×100 metres relay. Abbas, who bettered the UAE national record by half a metre, leapt 16.80 metres in the triple jump to also be awarded the best athlete of the competition honour.

The feat also enables Abbas to automatically qualify for the IAAF World Athletics Championships to be held in South Korea later this year.

Ali Obaid Al Shrook won two silver medals in the 400 metres and the 400 metres hurdles, while Omar Juma brought in a third silver medal in the men’s 200 metres.

The two bronze came through Ahmad Sangour’s third place in the 100 metres sprint and Mariam Mubarak’s third place finish in the women’s 1,500 metres.

Good indicator

“In addition, we had another four athletes who came in fourth in their events. This performance is a good indicator that we are on the right track for the future. And in case there is something to be corrected then we still have some time on our hands,” Al Kamali noted.

The West Asian Athletics Championships featured 23 events for men and 22 for women in track and field.

Bahrain Athletics Association President Shaikh Talal Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa is the West Asian Athletics Association (WAAA) president, while WAAA vice-president Yasser Diabat of Jordan is the vice president and Abdul Rahman Askar of Bahrain is the general secretary.

The West Asian Athletics Championships were held from September 18 to 20, with participation from all 13 WAAA member nations comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Iran, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Oman, Yemen and hosts Syria.