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United Arab Emirates at the 2008 Summer Olympics

The United Arab Emirates participated at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, which were held from 8 to 24 August 2008. The country's participation at the Beijing Olympics marked its seventh appearance in the Summer Olympics since its début at the 1984 Summer Olympics. The delegation sent by the United Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee consisted of eight athletes in seven sports: athletics, equestrian, judo, sailing, shooting, swimming and taekwondo. Two of the eight athletes were women, making Beijing the first time the country had sent female athletes to an Summer Olympiad, and most of their athletes qualified for the Games by using a wild card or receiving an invitation from the Tripartite Commission. All eight competitors did not win any medals at the Games though the best performance of the delegation was from sport shooter Ahmad Al-Makotum who placed seventh in the qualification round of the men's double trap and lost a subsequent four-man shoot-out.

United Arab Emirates at the
2008 Summer Olympics
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg
IOC codeUAE
NOCUnited Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee
Websitewww.uaenoc.ae (in Arabic) (in English)
in Beijing
Competitors8 in 7 sports
Flag bearer Maitha Al Maktoum (opening)
Omar Jouma Bilal Al-Salfa (closing)
Medals
Gold
0
Silver
0
Bronze
0
Total
0
Summer Olympics appearances (overview)

BackgroundEdit

The United Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee was recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 1 January 1980.[1] The nation its debut at the Olympic Games four years later at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, and have taken part in every Summer Olympics since, making Beijing their seventh appearance in a Summer Olympiad.[2] They have never participated in a Winter Olympic Games.[2] The 2008 Summer Olympics were held from 8–24 August 2008; a total of 10,942 athletes represented 204 National Olympic Committees.[3] In April 2008, the United Arab Emirates National Olympic Committee announced their largest delegation of athletes to an Olympic Games for sixteen years with eight for Beijing.[4] They were sprinter Omar Jouma Bilal Al-Salfa, equestrian rider Latifah bint Ahmed Al Maktoum, judoka Saeed Rashid Al Qubaisi, sailor Adil Mohammad, shooters Ahmad Al Maktoum and Saeed Al Maktoum, short-distance swimmer Obaid Al Jasmi and taekwondo Maitha Al Maktoum.[5] All the athletes were promised monetary awards of $272,000 should they have won a gold medal.[6] The inclusion of Latifah and Matiha Al Maktoum meant it was the first time the United Arab Emirates had sent female athletes to an Olympic Games.[7] Maitha Al Makotum was selected the flag bearer for the opening ceremony,[8] while Al-Salfa carried it at the closing ceremony.[9]

AthleticsEdit

 
Omar Jouma Bilal Al-Salfa (pictured in 2009) was the only athletics competitor for the United Arab Emirates in Beijing.

At the age of 18, Omar Jouma Bilal Al-Salfa was the only athlete representing the United Arab Emirates in athletics competition.[10] Beijing was his only appearance in the Olympic Games.[11] Al-Salfa qualified for the men's 200 metres by using a wildcard because his personal best time of 20.94 seconds was 0.19 seconds slower than the "B" qualifying standard for the discipline.[12][13] He spent six weeks preparing for the Games at a training camp in Poland with the team's national coach Vasko Anguelov Dimov.[10] Al-Salfa said his objective was to improve his personal best and sought to reach the second round of the contest, saying, "I must do something good at this Olympics. If I don’t, I will not be happy."[13] On 18 August, he was placed in heat seven of the men's 200 metres. Al-Salfa finished seventh and last out of all the finishing sprinters with a time of 21 seconds. However, only the top three from a heat and the eight next fastest overall from all ten heats were allowed to advance to the second round, and Al-Salfa was eliminated since he was 40th overall.[n 1][14]

Key
  • Note–Ranks given for track events are within the athlete's heat only
  • NR = National record

Men
Athlete Event Heat Quarterfinal Semifinal Final
Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank
Omar Jouma Bilal Al-Salfa 200 m 21.00 7 Did not advance

EquestrianEdit

 
The Hong Kong Sports Institute, where Shaikha Latifah Bint Ahmad Bin Juma Al Maktoum took part in show jumping competition.

Shaikha Latifah Bint Ahmad Bin Juma Al Maktoum was 22 years old at the time of the Beijing Summer Games, and was making her only appearance in an Olympic Games.[15] She automatically qualified for the women's individual jumping contest because her time of 47.72 seconds at the Seventh Qatar International Show Jumping Championship in March 2007 was sufficient enough to make the Games. Latifah Al Maktoum missed the 2007 Pan Arab Games in Cairo to focus on training for the Olympics.[16] Before the Games, she said, "I was under tremendous pressure in the first two rounds and it is always difficult to perform under pressure. It wasn't an easy course, as we saw not many riders get through, but in the end all that matters is the qualifier for the Olympics and I have done it."[5] During the first part of the August 15 preliminary round, Latifah Al Maktoum and her horse Kalska De Semilly accrued eight penalty points from jump penalties and three points from time penalties, earning eleven penalty points overall.[15] Of the 77 competitors in this first portion of the event, she tied with Saudi Arabia's Faisal Al-Shalan and Kamal Bahamdan for 61st overall.[17] In the second round, the pair accrued twelve jumping penalty points and three for time penalties.[15] This placed Latifah Al Maktoum 54th out of 70 finishing riders, tying Bahamdan and Bruce Goodin of New Zealand, and was eliminated from the competition.[18]

Show jumpingEdit

Athlete Horse Event Qualification Final Total
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round A Round B
Penalties Rank Penalties Total Rank Penalties Total Rank Penalties Rank Penalties Total Rank Penalties Rank
Latifah bint Ahmed Al Maktoum Kalska De Semilly Individual 11 61 15 26 54 Did not advance 26 54

JudoEdit

 
Al Qubaisi competed as a judoka at the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium.

The United Arab Emirates selected Saeed Rashid Al Qubaisi as the athlete to take part in men's judo. At the time of the Beijing Summer Olympics, he was the youngest athlete to represent his country at these Games at the age of 18 and was the first Emirati judoka to compete in Olympic combat sports.[6] Al Quabisi qualified to compete in the men's lightweight (–73kg) tournament after receiving a wild card invitation from the Tripartite Commission.[19] He trained with the Tunisian national judo team at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club and later visited training camps in Belarus and Tunisia to prepare for the Olympics.[20] Al Qubaisi said before the Games that he hoped to win the gold medal and felt ready,[20] "I feel proud and I will look to do my country proud. Like this I can be an example to many youngsters, that you can be an Olympian at 18."[6] He was drawn to face Marlon August of South Africa in the Round of 32 at the Beijing Science and Technology University Gymnasium on 11 August. In the one minute and 27 second match, Al Qubaisi was thrown onto the mat by August who won by an Ippon score to eliminate his opponent from advancing further in the contest.[21][22]

Athlete Event Round of 32 Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Repechage 1 Repechage 2 Repechage 3 Final / BM
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Rank
Saeed Rashid Al Qubaisi Men's −73 kg   August (RSA)
L 0000–1000
Did not advance

SailingEdit

Adil Mohammad was competing in his only Olympic Games and was 18 years old at the time of the Beijing Summer Olympics.[23] He was the first sailor from the Arab World to compete in the sport at the Olympic Games.[5] Mohammad qualified to take part in the men's laser sailing category after he was granted an wild card invitation by the Tripartite Commission.[24] He trained and competed in sailing competitions across Europe for seven months as preparation for the Games.[5] Before the Olympics, Mohammad spoke of his pride of representing the United Arab Emirates at the Olympics and stated he felt confident about winning the gold medal in his category, "It is the dream of every athlete and sportsperson to compete in the Olympics. So it has been my dream as well. Now that I am going to Beijing, I feel proud of myself, I feel proud for my country and I hope to put the UAE on top of the world."[5] He competed in the one person dinghy event, where he was assessed using a score derived from his participation in nine distinct races.[23] In the first and second races, Mohammed finished 38th; in the third, 42nd; in the fourth, 43rd (and last); in the fifth, 11th (his highest); in the sixth, 36th; in the seventh, 42nd; in the eighth, 38th; in the ninth, 27th; he did not compete in the final race because it was cancelled.[25] Overall, he ranked 42nd out of 43 sailors, earning a collective 272 points across all nine races.[25]

Athlete Event Race Net points Final rank
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 M*
Adil Mohammad Laser 38 38 42 43 11 36 42 38 27 CAN EL 272 42

M = Medal race; EL = Eliminated – did not advance into the medal race; CAN = Race cancelled;

ShootingEdit

 
Saeed Al Maktoum (pictured in 2016) represented the United Arab Emirates for the third time in Olympic shooting competition.

The oldest member of the team at the age of 44,[26] Sheikh Ahmad Al-Makotum was making his third appearance at a Summer Olympiad, having previously represented the United Arab Emirates at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics and the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.[27] He won the nation's first gold medal in men's double trap at the 2004 Summer Olympics.[27] Ahmad Al-Makotum qualified for the men's trap and double trap after winning a quota spot because of his performance at the 2005 World Shotgun Championships.[27] He began his preparation for the Games two months beforehand.[26] Ahmad Al-Makotum said to The New Indian Express that he was not expecting to win anything in Beijing.[26] On 9 August he competed in the qualification round of men's trap. Ahmad Al-Makotum finished 30th out of 35 shooters with a score of 110. He equalled the score of Lee Wung Yew of Singapore and Ireland's Derek Burnett. Ahmad Al-Makotum's tournament ended at the qualification round since he scored nine points less than the lowest scoring qualifier.[28] Three days later, he took part in the qualifying round of the men's double trap, placing seventh out of nineteen competitors with a score of 136 points.[29] Ahmad Al-Makotum subsequently entered and lost a four-way shoot-out between Australia's Russell Mark, William Chetcuti of Malta and Hungary's Roland Gerebics since all four had the same score.[30]

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum was 31 years old at the time of the Beijing Olympics.[31] He also represented the United Arab Emirates at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games and the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics but he did not medal in any of his events.[31] Saeed Al Maktoum earned automatic qualification for the men's skeet because of his performance in the category at the 2007 Asian Shooting Championships, where he won the bronze medal.[32] He began his training for his tournament after arriving in Beijing on 26 July.[32] Saeed Al Maktoum said of his chances, "I have confidence in my capability, but I haven't got used to the shooting range yet. There are many ups and downs at the back (mountains). But in our country, the range is flat. We believe in God. If God gives you, nobody could take it away."[32] On 15 August he participated in the first heat of the qualification round of the men's skeet. Saeed Al Maktoum finished 22nd out of 41 participants with a score of 114 points.[33] He scored seven points less than the highest-scoring athlete, Vincent Hancock of the United States. Saeed Al Maktoum had four points less than the lowest scoring qualifier, Qu Ridong of China, and therefore his competition ended at the qualifying round.[33] He would again represent the United Arab Emirates at the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics.[31]

Men
Athlete Event Qualification Final
Points Rank Points Rank
Ahmad Al Maktoum Trap 110 30 Did not advance
Double trap 136 7 Did not advance
Saeed Al Maktoum Skeet 114 22 Did not advance

SwimmingEdit

 
The Beijing National Aquatics Centre, where Al Jasmi took part in swimming contests.

27 year old police officer Obaid Al Jasmi was competing in his second Olympic Games after representing the United Arab Emirates four years earlier at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.[5] He entered the men's 100 metres freestyle after being granted a universality place from the world governing body of swimming FINA after his best time of 53.70 seconds was 2.75 seconds slower than the "B" (FINA/Olympic) qualifying time for the event.[5][34] Al Jasmi had less than two months to prepare for the Games.[35] He set himself the objective of improving his personal best time at the Olympics but noted the strong competition he would compete with in the tournament.[5] On 12 August, Al Jasmi competed in the six-swimmer heat two of the contest.[36] He placed last with a new national record time of 53.29 seconds.[35][36] Al Jasmi ranked 61st out of 64 swimmers overall and he did not advance into the semi-finals since the format of the tournament only allowed for the progression of the top sixteen overall finishers.[n 2][36] After the Olympics, he spoke of his satisfaction of his performance, "I benefited greatly from my participation in the Olympic Games and succeeded in bettering my personal record and I am looking forward to taking part in the GCC Championships and I am determined to achieve good results."[37]

Men
Athlete Event Heat Semifinal Final
Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank
Obaid Al Jasmi 100 m freestyle 53.29 NR 61 Did not advance

TaekwondoEdit

Shaikka Maitha Al Maktoum was 28 years old at the time of the Beijing Summer Olympics and she was making her debut appearance in the Olympic Games.[38] She was announced as a qualified competitor for the women's middleweight (–67kg) taekwondo competition after the IOC cleared her to participate following the allocation of quota places for athletes deemed to have "an extraordinary record in their sporting discipline."[39] Maitha Al Maktoum trained at the Kyung Hee University in the South Korean capital city of Seoul to prepare for the Games.[40] She said before the Olympics, "Everybody who is going to compete in Beijing is going there to win and I am no exception. I have to respect them all. They have all dedicated themselves to this and the only thing they want is a medal. I am the same though and I will have to match their focus if I am to succeed."[5] Maitha Al Maktoum faced South Korea's Hwang Kyung-seon in the Round of 16 on 22 August. She lost to her opponent 5–1 in points and was defeated 4–0 in her repechage match against Sandra Šarić of Croatia, ending her chance of a bronze medal.[41] After the tournament, Matiha Al Maktoum stated, "It's a dream and a nightmare at the same time. I couldn't wait until it was going to happen. And now I can't believe it's over. I think I performed well for what my background is and my experience."[41]

Athlete Event Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Repechage Bronze Medal Final
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Opposition
Result
Rank
Maitha Al Maktoum Women's −67 kg   Hwang K-S (KOR)
L 1–5
Did not advance   Šarić (CRO)
L 0–4
Did not advance

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Three athletes did not finish and one failed to start.[14]
  2. ^ One swimmer, Milorad Čavić, withdrew from the tournament.[36]

ReferencesEdit

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