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Team Qatar athletes aim for a top show at Asian Games in Indonesia

Team Qatar athletes aim for a top show at Asian Games in Indonesia


Qatar contingent to comprise over 250 competitors including 40 female athletes

Vinay Nayudu
Doha
The countdown for the 18th Asian Games to be held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia in August has begun. And Team Qatar, boasting of over 250 competitors including 40 female athletes as started to prepare in right earnest.
Qatari athletes will be participating across 30 disciplines in the fortnight-long Asian sporting extravaganza and the Asian Para Games (from October 8 to 16). On Tuesday, the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) introduced some of the aspiring Team Qatar athletes who will be competing at the Games.
Five young athletes teen swimmer Abdulaziz al Obaidly, World Para-Athletics Champion and Paralympic silver medallist Abdelrahman Abdelqader, female Taekwondo athlete, Huda Mohammed, indoor volleyball player Othman Abdelwahed and Youth Arab Champion hammer thrower Rania al Naji participated in a media session at the Olympic Tower and provided an insight into their preparations for one of the biggest sporting competitions.
Glowing with youthful exuberance and hoping to gain from experience, 16-year-old swimmer Abdulaziz al Obaidly was all smiles and first up as he spoke about his aim.
"The team and I are getting ready to attend two training camps before heading to Jakarta for the Asian Games. I will be the youngest swimmer amongst my teammates at the Games; this makes me proud and excited to do my best," said the teenager, who recently set two new personal bests in the 100m and 200m backstroke during Qatar's Swimming Cup 2018.
Obaidly has been gaining strong international experience in this year's FINA Swimming World Series, which has also seen him compete in Seychelles.
From the young to the seasoned Abdelrahman Abdelqader, Qatar's first-ever Para-Athletics World Champion who won gold in the T34 shot put in London last year following his silver medal and Qatar's first-ever Paralympic medal at Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the shift was wide yet the goal to excel the same.
"The upcoming Asian Para Games will see fierce competition in the shot put event. I will be competing against the best in Asia, but hopeful of setting a new personal best. My training in Ramadan is intense, I am always aiming for gold and I'm looking to add a new medal to my collection," said the shot put star.
Para-sport has been continuing to grow in strength in Qatar since Doha hosted the IPC Athletics World Championships in 2015. Another pointer to this has been the success of Sara Masoud, who won a silver at both London 2017 and Rio 2016 to become Qatar's first-ever global female medallist.
Among the many firsts for Qatar will be the addition of taekwondo female athlete
Huda Mohammed, who will be Qatar's first-ever taekwondo (Poomsae) athlete to compete at an Asian Games. Poomsae as a form of sport is a defined pattern of defence-and-attack motions.
Speaking about her hopes, Huda, said,"I took to taekwondo as a hobby when I was 13 but then I then gradually took it up professionally. Many might think that taekwondo is not a girls' sport, but I highly recommend girls to try the poomsae because it does not require the athlete to compete against an opponent. In Poomsae, an athlete performs a set of motions and therefore the possibility for injuries is very low."
Team Qatar's taekwondo athletes raised Qatar's flag high at this month's Asian Championships in Vietnam. Qatar competed with five athletes and returned home with a bronze medal through Qatar's Othman Boularas, who also recently won a gold at the World Taekwondo Beach Championships.
On the volleyball front, Othman Abdelwahed one of the team members for the Asian Games, said he's awaiting the competition.
"We are heading to the Asian Games with a well experienced team which has competed at the international level and achieved a lot. My team and I are excited for this summer, hoping to come back home with a medal," he said.
Team Qatar's indoor volleyball team finished third in the World Cup qualifications 2018 beating the second-ranked team in Asia.
Qatar's rising star Rania al Naji, who recently won a gold at the youth Arab Championships in Jordan 2018 in hammer throw, was quiet yet hopeful of making the grade at the Asian Games.
With the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships on the horizon, it is a very exciting time for athletics in Qatar and Rania is hoping to make the Asian Games a stepping stone towards the big journey.
"I'm currently working on setting the required qualifying distance for the Asian Games through my upcoming training camps. We have two camps and hopefully I should get there," said Rania dismissing all notions of the pressure weighing on her."No, I don't feel any pressure," she quipped with a smile.
About how does she feel taking up hammer throw, she explained,"Hammer throw focuses on mixing strength, power and the right techniques for a perfect throw.
"The sport requires lots of intense training for an athlete to increase the speed in spinning the hammer. But unlike how many think of it being a power sport, it is more about technique and not strength alone."

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