A moment of pride for Oman athletes
Monday, 30 July 2012 10:33

A moment of pride for Oman athletes-Wearing the traditional attire and waving the national flag, Omani Olympic contingent, including the four-member team and its officials, walked with  immense pride during the spectacular opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium, yesterday.

The only woman in the Sultanate contingent Shinoona Al Habsi stood out in the parade as she waved the national flag walking behind Rustaq's shooting pride and main flag bearer Ahmed Al Hatmi.

The other two athletes taking part in the Games are Barakat Mubarak Al Harthi,27, in men's 100m; and Ahmed Mohamed Al Merjabi,21, in men's 400m, both from Ibra.

According to the sports enthusiasts in the Sultanate, Barakat is the lone Omani athlete, who can at least reach the final of his respective events.

Barakat had competed at the 2009 World Championships and the 2010 World Indoor Championships without reaching the final. He is a bronze medal winner at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in the 100m, which was Oman's only medal in the Games.

His personal best times are 6.67 seconds in the 60 metres, achieved at the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha; 10.17 seconds in the 100 metres, achieved in July 2011 in Manama; and 20.77 seconds in the 200 metres, achieved 2011 in Manama.

Marksman Ahmed Al Hatmi will showcase his skills on August 2, while Shinoona and the other athletes will have their track events between August 9 and 12.

Shinoona's the best recent performance was in Budapest this year where she completed 100m in 12.37 seconds. Ahmed Mohamed Al Merjabi's best outdoor performance was in Doha in 2011, where he completed 400m in 45.54 seconds.

The Sultanate first represented at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles by a team of nine shooters and seven athletes, the largest team to date, which included two sets of brothers also.

In 1984, Abdul Latif Al Balushi and Dadallah Al Balushi competed in the shooting events.

When Amor Masoud Al Sharji competed in the 1,500m, his younger brother Amor Masoud Al Sharji ran the men's 800m. In 1988, Mohammed Al Malky reached the final of the men's 400m and placed eighth.

The Sultanate had sent a team of four to Beijing in athletics, shooting and swimming. Buthaina Al Yaqubi became the first woman from the Sultanate to compete at the Games.

She ran in the 100m and was placed ninth in her heat without advancing to the second round. She ran the distance in a time of 13.90 seconds.

With 2,000 athletes competing in 47 events, athletics is the largest single sport at the Games.

There are also 24 track events, the majority of which begin with one or more rounds of heats. The 16 field events start with a qualification stage, with the best athletes qualifying for the final.

According to International Olympic Committee, over the next two weeks, 4,847 women will take part in the Games. Never before will so many have run, jumped, swum and ridden at an Olympic Games. Never before will any have boxed at the Olympics.

Never before will every competing nation have been represented by at least one female athlete. And never before will a sporting regiment of women have had so many medals to win.

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