BAHRAIN’S athletes will be aiming for glory as they compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 which kicks off today in the Japanese capital.
The kingdom has 13 competitors vying for medals in athletics, two participants in swimming, one boxer duking it out in the ring, one participant from the shooting federation and the national handball team.
Bahrain’s handball team qualified after winning the Asian Qualifiers in 2019 in Doha, making the Bahrain handball team the only qualifying team from the entire Asian continent which the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) has dubbed as ‘a moment of triumph and honour for the Kingdom of Bahrain’.
This is also a historic moment for the kingdom as this is its largest delegation participating in the Summer Olympic Games.
“The Tokyo 2020 Olympics marks the 10th edition of the Bahrain’s participation in the Olympic Summer Games,” said Supreme Council for Youth and Sports first deputy chairman, General Sports Authority chairman and BOC president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
“The kingdom’s debut participation dates back to 1984 in Los Angeles,” he said.
“This year, the objective is to achieve commendable results in line with the progressive sporting boom the kingdom continues to experience under the committed support and wise leadership of His Majesty King Hamad.
“After the successful participation of Bahrain in the 2016 Rio Olympics, with the kingdom winning its first gold medal by runner Ruth Gibbert in the women’s 3,000 metre steeplechase, and Eunice Kirua’s winning the silver medal in the women’s marathon, the 32nd Summer Olympics poses new challenges and expectations for Bahrain.
“Tokyo 2020 marks a turning point in the history of Bahrain with the qualification of the Bahrain national handball team.
“The kingdom is proud to participate with the largest delegation qualifying in five different sports.
“The current global situation of Covid-19 has impacted the international sports scene with the effects of the pandemic creating havoc and difficulties in transportation, training and participating in world sports events.
“However, our national teams are well equipped to face and surpass these challenges with sheer determination and their resilient willpower to raise the Bahraini flag high at an international sporting event watched by millions of fans across the world.”
National handball team captain Hussain Al Sayyad will be raising Bahrain’s flag high during the opening ceremony, which, as Tokyo’s Olympic committee announced recently, will be a ‘scaled-down affair with a sobering ceremony’.
Japan this month decided that participants would compete in empty venues to minimise health risks.
And instead of more than 10,000 athletes marching into a capacity-crowd stadium, the team parade will be smaller, in a largely empty Tokyo Olympic stadium bar a few hundred officials, and with tight social distancing rules.
The kingdom’s Olympic athletes are looking forward to marching together dressed in their red, black and gold uniforms designed by Valour Apparel.
The uniform was inspired by BOC’s logo and features ‘Team Bahrain’ embellished on the back to keep the spirit unified and alive.
“We are hopeful that the national athletes will surpass our expectations and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will witness the kingdom’s footprint at a global sports level,” said BOC secretary-general and deputy head of Bahrain’s delegation Mohammed Al Nusuf.
“We extend our sincere regards to our national team and wish them all the best. To the entire administrative team, our medics, media and our technical team and to each individual who has played a pivotal role in realising this dream, we applaud your efforts and determination for contributing towards this national cause.”
For timing and schedule of Bahrain’s games, visit https://teambahrain.bh