GULFWEEKLY: Bahrain’s athletes are bringing pride to the kingdom by securing glittering gold, shiny silver and bountiful bronze medals in the GCC Games in Kuwait.
Around 2,000 athletes from Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the UAE have been competing in the third Gulf Games in 17 different disciplines including futsal, handball, basketball, basketball 3×3, volleyball, judo, karate, fencing, shooting, tennis, cycling, athletics, swimming, ice hockey, eSports, table tennis and padel.
Bahrain has clinched 45 medals so far - 17 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze, landing the island in second place in the table standings.
During the course of the Games, Bahrain’s athletics team manager Mohammed Abdulaziz Hasan said ‘these results are not the dividends of hard work from one day, or one month, or even one year’.
“It has been a long-term plan, stretching back to 2012, and we are reaping the benefits of that plan,” explained Hasan, who is also a board member of the Bahrain Athletics Federation. “While the GCC Games are very important to us, it is just the first step on the ladder. Our main targets are the Olympic Games followed by the Asian Games.”
Some of the kingdom’s stars that secured medals include Abdulrahman Mahmoud who won gold medal in shot put and Albert Rop who won the men’s 10,000 metres ahead of his compatriot Abraham Sheroubin, who claimed silver.
The women’s 10,000m gold and silver were also claimed by Bahrain. Bontu Edao finished the race on top, ahead of Viola Jobjumba.
Other gold medal winners were Muna Saad in women’s 400m, Noora Salem in women’s shot put, Aminat Yusuf in 100m hurdles and Fatima Mubarak in women’s triple jump.
Hajar Alkhaldi won bronze in women’s 100m while Abbas Yusuf Ali claimed bronze in men’s 400m. The other bronze medal winner was Salha Mohammed, in women’s 100m hurdles.
Meanwhile, on May 23, Chair of the Olympic Council of Asia’s (OCA) Gender Equity Committee Shaikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al-Khalifa presented a proposal to the GCC executive board calling for all sports, especially Olympic sports, to be inclusive of female athletes at future GCC Games.
“My hope is that at the next Gulf Games we will have women competing in the same number of sports as the men,” she said. “This time, only six sports have women competing in them for medals. I want equality in numbers the next time.”
The six sports featuring female athletes are athletics, basketball (3x3), cycling, e-sports, futsal and padel.
Apart from her role as a champion of women in the OCA, Shaikha Hayat is also a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Women in Sport Commission, a board member of the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) and chair of the BOC Women’s Sport Committee and President of the Bahrain Table Tennis Association.
“What I would love to see is more women competing, especially in sports which are in the Olympic Games,” added Shaikha Hayat. “It is very important as that is what the International Olympic Committee desires, as do the International Federations.
“We at the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) are also pushing this vigorously.”
The Games, which were meant to start on May 13 were postponed for three days due to the tragic passing of the late UAE president Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It will continue until May 31.
Visit www.kuwait2022.org for details on scheduling and results.