Dubai: The United Arab Emirates Olympic team head to Tokyo 2020 with fervent hope and positivity for what will be their 10th consecutive appearance at the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza.
The contingent of 18 members, led by the chef de mission Ahmed Al Tayeb, includes five athletes – Hassan Al-Noubi (athletics – 100m men), Ivan Remarenco (judo – 100 kg men), Victor Scvortov (judo – 73 kg men) ), Youssef Al Matrushi (swimming – 100m freestyle men) and Saif Bin Futtais (shooting – skeet men).
The UAE’s representation at the multidisciplinary event from July 23 to August 8 may be small, but by no means lacking in quality and commitment.
Al Tayeb’s team are among the best talents this sports-loving country has to offer in athletics, swimming, judo and shooting, and it will not be surprising to see them proudly wearing the UAE flag and their aspirations. , in the eyes of the world,
“We are a small team but our hopes are high,” said Al Tayeb Gulf News. “We are not going to Tokyo to do numbers, we are going there to show the world what our athletes are capable of.
“Yes, like all participating countries, we are filled with hope and expectation, but there is no pressure on our athletes to be successful. They will give their best, we’re sure of that, and we want to win a medal and be on the podium. We are here to compete at a high level.
“The team has moved to the Olympic Village and is starting to acclimatize and feel comfortable. So everything is going well and we can wait to take action, ”Al Tayeb added.
The judo duo have high hopes for a medal
Combat sports are one of the highlights of the Olympics and Victor Scvortov and Ivan Remarenco, who will represent the United Arab Emirates in the men’s judo competition, are more eager than ever to win gold in their respective weight classes. .
Scvortov is competing in the 73kg class while Remarenco, who will appear in his third consecutive game, has a solid medal prospect in the competitive 100kg class.
The two naturalized citizens of the United Arab Emirates, Moldovans Scvortov and Remarenco, are said to be in great physical shape and ready to take on the challenges that await us on the world’s biggest sporting stage.
Remarenco represented the United Arab Emirates at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio while Abu Dhabi Grand Prix hero Scvortov makes his Olympic debut with confidence.
We will not go to Tokyo to do numbers, we are going there to show the world what our athletes are capable of.
– Ahmed Al Tayeb, Head of Mission of the United Arab Emirates team to Tokyo
“Both athletes have been preparing for a long time and are very confident in the direction of Tokyo,” said Naser Al Tamimi, secretary general of the UAE Judo Federation, in an exclusive interview.
“The preparations started after Rio with the first objective of qualifying for Tokyo. This having been achieved, they are thirsty to win medals for their adopted country.
“It is a great achievement to qualify for the games and to have two strong contenders to represent the United Arab Emirates. The Olympics are the biggest sporting scene in the world, so we are extremely excited and hopeful. “
Al Tamimi, who was instrumental in bringing judo and wrestling to schools and clubs in the UAE, has been actively involved in Remarenco and Scvortov’s development program for Tokyo.
“We have organized a series of training camps and competitions to prepare the two fighters,” he said. “They are both physically and mentally ready to give the best of themselves. We are very satisfied with their development and their passion to compete for the United Arab Emirates.
“Remarenco and Scvortov told me they felt good and had no weakness to go to Tokyo,” said Al Tamimi, who has over 30 years of experience in sports management and a license in physical education.
“They are focused on their goals and wake up every day with a thirst that only events like the Olympics can trigger.
Rio medal fuels hope
The United Arab Emirates won a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Games with Sergiu Toma, who reached the medal round in the men’s 81 kg category. Toma, a naturalized Moldovan citizen, beat Japanese Takanori Nagase to reach the semi-finals, but lost to Russian fighter Khasan Khalmurzaev and failed to reach the final.
However, in the bronze medal match, he beat Italy’s Matteo Marconcini to give the UAE their first success in the sport. The United Arab Emirates, incidentally, have won two medals so far at the Olympics – their best moment came when Sheikh Ahmad Bin Mohammed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum made his way to gold in double trap shooting in Athens. in 2004.
Hassan Al Noubi: on the fast track
One of the stars of the United Arab Emirates team is sprinter Hassan Al Noubi, who will face the fastest men on the planet in the men’s 100 and 200 meters.
A member of the Sharjah Sports Club, the fact that Al Noubi is a mature 30-year-old sprinter makes him a remarkable story.
An Olympic rookie, Al Noubi has worked hard at his craft and is continually gaining seconds in the hope of peaking at the right time and place.
“The 100 and 200 meters are the most difficult events in athletics competitions,” said Sulaiman Al Hajri, director of individual sports, Sharjah Sports Club.
“Hassan made a big effort despite the changes in the Games schedule. He has done everything that is required of him. We couldn’t be more pleased with its preparation. Now it’s up to him and his way to play.
“He attended an intense two week training camp in Sofia, Bulgaria and delighted his trainer Vasco from Hungary). They have a good athlete-trainer relationship and have worked together to improve and refine technique and cardio of Hassan, ”Al Hajri added.
“He is living the Olympic dream and wants to make his club and his country proud. It’s all up to him now and we wish him good luck. “
Yousuf Al Matrooshi: Hoping to cause a sensation
Yousuf Al Matrooshi is the baby of the Olympic team, but he doesn’t let that stop him from making a name for himself when he takes a dip in the pool at the Olympic Aquatic Center.
The swimming will feature a record total of 37 events (18 for each gender and one mixed), with the new events being the men’s 800m freestyle, the women’s 1,500m freestyle and the mixed 4x100m medley relay.
Still, Al Matrooshi takes his place in the 100-meter freestyle, one of the discipline’s six freestyle events and the most demanding of all.
And he has the support of Sultan Al Samahi, the president of the UAE Swimming Federation. “Yousuf is a very exciting athlete,” said Al Samahi. “He’s young but mature and hungry.
“The Olympics are the biggest stage in the world and could be quite intimidating for any teenage swimmer. Not the least Yousuf, but he has the right attitude and is not lacking in ability.
“He has worked very hard to get to Tokyo and wants to take the opportunity to compete with the world’s elite swimmers,” he added.
“In his case, we have a long-term plan, well beyond Tokyo and in anticipation of the next Games in Paris and Los Angeles. We give him time because he is still young, but has a taste for challenges.
“The 100-meter freestyle is a very difficult event. There is no room for mistakes. Yousuf knows this and knows what to do to eliminate any negative aspects. He is mentally prepared and he told me he had a good feeling about these Olympics, ”said Al Samahi.
“He is integrating well with the rest of the UAE Olympic team and we are optimistic that he will show us something special in Tokyo. But whatever happens, we will continue to invest in his abilities as we believe. that he has the talent, the desire and the dream to succeed on the international scene. ”
Yousuf himself has said that the Olympics will be a great learning experience and prepare him for other international events like the Fina Swimming World Championship, which will be held in Abu Dhabi in December.
Saif Bin Futtais: framed on skeet
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum was the pride of the United Arab Emirates 17 years ago when he won gold in the double trap shooting competition in Athens in 2004.
Now Saif Bin Futtais hopes to repeat the feat when he takes part in the clay pigeon shooting competition which kicks off on July 25. This is the second consecutive Olympic Games he will participate in after finishing 29th in the same event in Rio.
Fast forward to Tokyo and Saif is more focused and motivated than ever, which is reflected in the confidence with which he moves around the Olympic Village using one of the self-driving cars deployed in the village to serve the participating delegates.
A seasoned sniper, having made his first international appearance in 1999, left-hander Saif Bin Futtais believes he is in top form for the rigors of Olympic competition.
Saif, a two-time ISSF World Cup medalist, was also a gold medalist at the 2015 ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Larnaca, Cyprus, and prides himself on a great consistency in hitting skeet targets.
“Competing at the Olympics is always tough,” he said. “Nothing is guaranteed, you have to be at your best every time you step into the competition.
“You need a little luck, but above all you have to make the fewest mistakes. It’s part of the game. “
Honor to Russi Al Hammadi
United Arab Emirates international volleyball referee Ahmed Mohammed Al Russi Al Hammadi has also been invited to serve on the volleyball competition administration team at the Games.