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UAE's Olympic Quest: Meet the four Emirati women gunning for gold

posted on 04/08/2016: 1273 views

Twelve years ago shooter Sheikh Ahmed bin Hasher became a national hero, after reigning supreme in the double trap and winning gold in 2004 Olympics.

Today, UAE is looking at its thirteen athletes to recreate history as the Olympic torch will be set ablaze on August 5 in Rio.

These 13 athletes will compete in multiple events - cycling, swimming, shooting, weightlifting, judo. Before the action kick starts in Rio we take a look at the four Emirati women gunning for gold at world's biggest stage.

Aisha Al Balooshi

Event: Weightlifting

Aisha Al Balooshi, 24-year-old, is UAE's only athlete in the weightlifting category.

Emirates Weightlifting Federation (EWF) picked up Al Balooshi after the team was handed a spot for the Olympics by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

She will represent the country in the 58kg weight category on August 8.

Al Balooshi entered the international arena in 2009 Asian Youth and Junior Championship in Dubai and since then won 13 gold medals, six silvers and four bronzes in various international competitions, including two golds and a silver in Arab Championships in Egypt.

Nada Al Bedwawi

Event: Swimming

The UAE delegation will be led in the opening ceremony by swimmer Nada Al Badwawi, the youngest participant, in a message to motivate and support women participation and women sport.

Al Bedwawi, who turns 19 in August, will become the country's first Olympic female swimmer for the 50m freestyle.

The young swimmer was gunning to participate in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, but was surprised to be picked as a wildcard entry in Rio.

She is taking up the Rio challenge as another milestone to prepare herself for the 2020 Olympics.

Betlhem Belayneh

Event: Athletics

The four-time Asian champion, Betlhem Desalegn Belayneh, is considered one of the UAE's strongest prospects at the Olympic Games.

Belayneh will be competing in the 1,500m race category.

The 24-year-old Ethiopian-born Emirati has suffered a hamstring injury while competing in Heusden, Belgium in July.

Desalegn is a six-time Asian champion who has reached the finals of the IAAF World Indoor Championships twice besides representing the UAE at the 2012 London Olympics.

Alia Saeed Mohammed

Event: Athletics

Ethiopian-born Emirati Alia Saeed Mohammad will compete in the 10,000m race category.

Alia is heading to the Olympics for the first time and won gold at the 2015 Asian Championships and 2014 Asian Games. She currently holds the Asian record for the women's indoor 5,000 meter race.

Alia clocked 31:10.25 in the long-distance event at the President's Cup in April this year, surpassing her previous national record of 31:51.86, which she set in Incheon in 2014. – Emirates 24/7 -


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