posted on 05/08/2012: 1062 views
UAE's Khadija Mohammed has vowed to build on her Olympic experience after competing in the women's 75kg weightlifting.
The Dubai-born 17-year-old made history in London, becoming the first female weightlifter from the Gulf to compete at the Games.
The inexperienced Mohammed finished last in Group A, lifting 51kg in the snatch discipline before failing at 53kg. She lifted 62kg on her third and final allocated lift in the Clean and Jerk, finishing 178kg behind group winner Svetlana Podobedova, of Kazakhstan.
Constantly encouraged by her animated coach Najwan Al Zawawi, Mohammed visibly revelled in the big-time atmosphere and said the results table was secondary compared to the experience.
"Just being here among all these world champions is great,” Mohammed said. "I still don't have enough experience in weightlifting, I was originally a handball player but I believe I have a good future in the sport in the upcoming years, especially as I'm only 17 and I am capable of doing well for UAE sport.
"I did my best to train and prepare well for the Olympics but the competition is really difficult, especially because weightlifting depends on the numbers you lift – you can't just come up with a weight that is too far from expectations.”
Mohammed was chosen to represent the UAE by her five teammates after the UAE team earned a solitary spot at the Games with a fine performance at the Asian Championships in Korea last May.
Neither Mohammed or the UAE Weightlifting Federation were under any illusions as to Mohammed's medal hopes, seeing the trip more as the first step on her career.
"We were honest with ourselves and with the people before the start of the tournament,” said Faisal Al Hamadi, Secretary General of the UAE Weightlifting Federation.
"Our competitor is new to the sport and inexperienced and there's a long way to go before she will be competitive in something like the Olympics but she has the chance to prepare well for Brazil 2016 by competing in Arab, Gulf and Asian Championships, and this is an important step for her.”
Podobedova took the overall gold with a combined lift of 291kg (130, 161), with Russia's Natalya Zabolonaya second and Iryna Kulesha, of Belarus, third. – Sport 360°
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