BAHRAIN is set to compete in the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 with a four-man squad, the Bahrain Athletics Association confirmed last night.
The competition is scheduled to take place in the UK from tomorrow until Sunday, and it is set to feature close to 700 athletes from 144 countries.
The small yet supremely talented Bahraini quartet comprises Andrew Fisher, Sadik Mikhou, Birhanu Balew and Albert Kibichiii Rop.
All four athletes will be making their debuts in the world indoors.
Long-distance runner Mohammed Ayoub Tiouali also qualified for the meeting but will not be competing due to technical issues.
Fisher will be competing in the men’s 60 metres.
The 26-year-old sprinter heads into his event with a personal best of 6.57 seconds which he clocked in 2017.
He has come close to matching that mark this year, having registered a season’s best of 6.59s earlier this month in a Poland meet.
Mikhou will be running in the men’s 1,500m. The 27-year-old’s personal best in the event is three minutes 38.48 seconds, which he clocked in France earlier this month. It is also his season’s best.
Balew and Rop will both be going for a gold in the men’s 3,000m.
Balew heads into the world indoors with a personal best of 7:46.15, a mark the 22-year-old achieved in Spain in 2016.
He has yet to compete in a major indoor race this year. Rop has a quicker personal best of 7:38.77, which he clocked in Belgium in 2014.
The 25-year-old ran his season’s best of 7:42.34 a couple of weeks ago in France. Rop was a 3,000m silver-medallist in the Asian Indoor Championships in 2016 in Doha.
Balew and Rop will be the first of the Bahrainis to step out onto the indoor track for their 3,000m heats on Friday. Fisher and Mikhou will compete in their respective heats on Saturday.
Bahrain have won five medals in past editions of the world indoors, including their sole gold claimed in the previous edition in 2016, held in Portland in the US.
Sprinter Oluwakemi Adekoya powered to the women’s 400m title with a time of 51.45 seconds.
Prior to that, legendary Bahraini athlete and former world champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal won three medals on different years. She clinched a women’s 1,500m bronze in 2006 in Moscow, and then, in 2008 in Istanbul, came away with a 1,500m silver.
Maryam then captured a women’s 3,000m bronze in 2014 in the world indoors held in Poland.
Maryam’s success in 2008 was complemented by the men’s 800m bronze won by fellow-Bahraini athlete and former world champion Youssef Saad Kamel.
Up to $2.5 million in prize money is on offer from the IAAF in this year’s championships.