Dubai UAE athletes taking part in four of the eight disciplines the country will compete in at the Olympics were named on Thursday by the UAE National Olympic Committee.
The football team was confirmed, along with three shooters, a swimmer and a weightlifter, who will compete at the extravaganza from July 27.
In shooting, the country are sending Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum (skeet), Shaikh Juma Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum (double trap) and Daher Al Aryani (trap).
The UAE’s lone swimmer at the Games will be Mubarak Al Gaffari, while weightlifter Khadija Mohammad will also be in London
Yousuf Al Serkal and Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, the UAE NOC’s Vice-President and Financial Director respectively, were joined by Arif Hadi Al Amiri, CEO of Emaar Retail as they announced the team members from a specially- built platform in front of the Dubai Mall Aquarium.
“For the very first time we have the majority of our athletes qualifying on merit for an Olympic Games, and we are proud of them all,” Al Serkal said.
The UAE will have its biggest squad ever at an Olympic Games, with the football team forming a major part of the delegation.
Besides the three shooters, the swimmer and weightlifter, there will also be competitors in wrestling, judo, athletics and sailing. “We will confirm the names of athletes for these four disciplines in the near future,” Al Serkal said.
The football team left last week for a 16-day training camp in Switzerland and then Austria. The team will play friendlies on June 28 and July 1 during their stay in Switzerland and play another five games against top European and African sides while in Austria.
The UAE face Uruguay in their opener at Old Trafford in Manchester on July 26, followed by hosts Great Britain at Wembley on July 29 and Senegal on August 1.
“It’s a different feeling now that we are participating at the Olympics after going through actual qualifying rather than based on invitations,” Al Serkal said.
“And to have the football team qualifying gives things a better flavour, as this will give us added media coverage and exposure.”
Al Serkal said the country’s best chances of medals are in shooting based purely on the success of 2004 double-trap Olympic champion Shaikh Ahmad Hasher Al Maktoum.
“Shaikh Ahmad’s gold medal gives us a base to hope [for] more medals in shooting yet again. We are expecting good results, but I don’t want to put undue pressure on our athletes,” Al Serkal said.
“But we know that our shooters are good enough to compete and win medals.”
The UAE squad so far:
Football: Ahmad Mahmoud, Saud Saeed, Rashid Eisa (Al Wasl); Khalid Eisa, Khamis Esmail, Ali Mabkhout (Al Jazira); Ali Al Ameri, Habib Al Fardan (Al Nasr); Sa’ad Surour, Abdul Aziz Haikal, Ahmad Khalil (Al Ahli); Mohammad Ahmad (Al Shabab), Abdul Aziz Sanqoor (Sharjah); Omar Abdul Rahman (Al Ain); Amer Abdul Rahman, Mohammad Fawzi, Haboush Saleh, Ahmad Ali, Mohammad Jaber (Bani Yas); Hamdan Al Kamali (Lyon).
Shooting: Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum (Skeet); Shaikh Juma Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum (Double Trap); Daher Al Aryani (Trap).