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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, July 16, 2018

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Bahrain ready for shot at history

London Olympic 2012

Share on Facebook July 24, 2012, Reporter : Gulf Daily News, Reader : 457

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A TEAM of 12 intrepid sportsmen and women will descend on the city of London over the coming days in a bid to gain a first Olympic medal for Bahrain.

The group, made up of nine athletes, two swimmers and a shooter, will be competing across 12 different events in the 27th edition of the world's greatest sporting show, which officially gets underway on Friday.

Two-time World Champion at the women's 1500m Maryam Yousuf Jamal will enter the games as Bahrain's best hope for a medal, as she did for the previous edition in Beijing in 2008, when she finished just outside the podium places in fifth.

Jamal will be joined in London by two of her team-mates from four years ago in the shape of Belal Mansoor Ali and Ali Hasan Mahboob, who finished eighth in the 1500m final and 18th in the 10,000m final respectively.

Fellow athletes Jamila Shami, Mimi Salim, Taj Baba, Shama Mubarak, Maitha Lahdan and Shawqi Jamal have all enjoyed their share success in regional competitions in recent years and so will be eager to transfer those performances onto the ultimate stage.

For Bahrain's youngest representatives, teenage swimming protŽgŽs Sara Al Flaij and Khaled Ismaeel, the next few weeks will offer the experience of a lifetime and a golden chance for them to build on their burgeoning reputations, which have already taken to them to the FINA World Championships in Shanghai last year.

The final member of the Bahraini contingent is Azza Al Qasmi, who will take on the cream of international shooting talent.

Before that though, she will also have the honour of being Bahrain's flag-bearer during Friday's opening ceremony.

While the participants themselves are busy putting the final touches to their preparations for the games, Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) honorary president Shaikh Isa bin Rashid Al Khalifa has already arrived in the British capital to join the Bahraini delegation director Saud Al Ghunaim.

This is the eighth successive time that Bahrain has been represented at the modern Summer Olympics since Hamad Bader and Isa Fadel took to the pool at the Los Angeles games of 1984 but still the coveted prize of a medal eludes.

Rashid Ramzi infamously received the gold medal for his efforts in the men's 1500 final in Beijing in what was, at the time, one of the most significant achievements in the history of Bahraini sport. This achievement was turned on its head in a matter of months however, when Ramzi was found to have tested positive for the banned substance CERA and he was subsequently stripped of his title in December 2009. While the opening ceremony for the London Olympics will take place late on Friday night, the first Bahraini competitor will not be seen in action until Ismaeel goes in the heats of the men's 100m butterfly on the afternoon of August 2.

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