UAE’s last hopes for a medal rest on 5,000m final

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Going for the double: Alia Saeed (front right) is looking to add another gold to the one she captured in the 10,000m last Monday.

Distance runners Alia Saeed and Betlhem Belayneh represent the UAE’s last chance of adding to their Asian Games medals tally as the pair line up for today’s 5,000m at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium.

Saeed will be looking to pull-off an impressive double after the 23-year-old stormed to gold in the 10,000m earlier in the week.

The Ethiopian-born Emirati clocked her 5,000m personal best at the Diamond League in Liege last July, posting a 15:24.94 and will enter today’s affair brimming with confidence.

Only two women in the 17-runner field today have gone faster in the 5,000m this season, Bahrain’s Mimi Belete and Japan’s Riko Matsuzaki.

Belete, 26, is the defending champion and she has already picked up a medal this week, claiming silver in the 1,500m.

While all eyes will be on Saeed, it is in fact her friend and compatriot Belayneh who had captured gold in the 5,000m at the Asian Athletics Championships last year in Pune. She made history for the UAE in 2013 by claiming two gold in Pune but has been riddled with injuries this year and finished a disappointing fourth in the 1,500m in Incheon.

Saeed will be seeking redemption however on the track today, where she and Belayneh are the country’s last hope of a medal these Games.

Meanwhile, UAE sailing officials believe the future is bright for their sport in the emirates after young prospects like Salama Al Mansoori, Hamad Al Hammadi and Mohamed Al Hammadi, all gained invaluable experience in Incheon.

Al Mansoori was the youngest sailor in the field and at the tender age of 12, has only been training in the sport for just seven months.

“We wanted to give our young sailors a taste of what it’s like on the world stage and I believe coming here has motivated them,” said Abdullah Al Obaidly, the secretary general of the UAE Sailing Federation.

“We’ve noticed that sailing is proving a big hit amongst our young girls in the UAE and we believe that Salama’s participation here can drive more females into the sport.”

Most popular

Related Sections

UAE suffer near misses at Asian Games

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Small margins: Mahmood Al Attar (r) bowls for the UAE.

The UAE narrowly missed out on adding to their medal tally at the Asian Games yesterday as Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum and the men’s bowling team saw their hopes of bronze ended by small margins.

Sheikha Latifa was beaten by 1.39 seconds with Taizo Sugitani of Japan, clocking 30.95 seconds in the equestrian individual jumping competition to win bronze.

And only four pins was the difference for the men’s bowling team, who were edged out by Hong Kong as they finished joint-fourth with China.

The horse jumping team, also featuring Abdullah Mohammed Al Marri and Mohammed Al Owais made a solid start. However as the competition progressed, only Sheikha Latifa, on her 11-year mare Peanuts De Beaufour, remained in contention for a medal.

Carrying a four-point penalty from her qualifying period on the first day, Sheikha Latifa came agonisingly close with a time of 32.34 but was edged out of the top three by Sugitani.

The event was won by Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Sharbatli, ahead of runner-up Satoshi Hirao.

In bowling, entering the day still in with a chance of sealing a medal, the five-man team, Mahmood Al Attar, Shaker Ali, Hussain Al Suwaidi, Naif Oqab and Hareb Al Mansoori fought hard until the end, but despite their efforts, they could only accumulate 5,896 pins.

South Korea comfortably took gold with a total of 6,228 pins, 242 pins ahead of runners-up Malaysia while Hong Kong’s effort of 5,900 was enough to win bronze.

Meanwhile, the skeet shooting team also ended the shooting competition on a disappointing note as they failed to consolidate their start during the qualifying round.

The three-man team, Saif Al Mansoori, Ahmed Mohammed and Saeed Al Dhraif finished in sixth position with a total of 341 points.

China picked up gold with a new Asian record of 366, while Kuwait (353) placed second ahead of South Korea (351).

Al Mansoori was best among the three UAE shooters with a total of 116 while Mohammed and Al Dhraif followed with totals of 115 and 110 at the end of five qualifying rounds.

And on the field, Saber Bayaha’s 50.05m attempt wasn’t enough to secure qualification to the men’s discus final, which was won by Iran’s Ehsan Hadid (65.11m).

India’s Vikas Gowda (62.58m) and Qatar’s Ahmed Mohammed Dheeb (61.25m) clinched silver and bronze medals respectively on the fourth day of the athletics competition.

Today, in sailing, both the men and women’s Optimist categories conclude, as well as the laser standard.

Tomorrow, 10,000m gold medalist Alia Saeed Mohammed will hope to add to the UAE’s tally when she competes in the women’s 5,000m alongside Betlhem Desalegn.

Most popular

Related Sections

UAE’s Saeed wins gold in 10,000m Asian Games run

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Gold-runner: Long distance runner Alia Saeed was tremendous in Incheon.

Distance runner Alia Saeed made history for the UAE by claiming the country’s first-ever athletics gold at the Asian Games, clocking a personal best time to win the 10,000m race in Incheon.

The 23-year-old shaved almost 50 seconds off her own national record to cross the finish line in 31:51.86.

The Ethiopian-born Saeed led a breakaway trio with five laps to go at Incheon’s Asiad Main Stadium, comfortably holding off China’s Ding Changqin and Ayumi Hagiwara of Japan to claim the UAE’s first gold of the Games.

It was a fast-paced race with all three medallists running sub-32 minutes and the top-two both running PBs.

Saeed’s previous best achievement on the continental stage came at the Asian Athletics Championships last year in Pune, where she took silver in 32:39.39 – her previous fastest time.

"I’m so happy to be an Asian champion for the first time. It was a hard race, everyone is strong so I really thank God for this win," an elated Saeed said after the race.

Ahmad Al Kamali, the president of the UAE Athletics Federation, has been a driving force of support for Saeed and Betlhem Belayneh – another Ethiopian import – and had previously vowed to deliver three medals for the Emirates in track and field at the Games.

"This is a great achievement. We are very happy here in the federation and the National Olympic Committee," Al Kamali told Sport360.

"We are really happy that on the first day of athletics here in Incheon, we got a medal, and it’s not just any medal, but a gold one.

"And it won’t be the last one insha’Allah.

"I promised three medals and now we got the first one."

Saeed will now go for the double in Thursday’s 5,000m where she will face off with her fellow Emirati and good friend, Belayneh, a gold medallist in the event at the Asian Championships in Pune last year.

Belayneh begins her campaign today in the 1,500, which she also had won in Pune. The 22-year-old will contest the heats today, hoping to go through to the final tomorrow.

Asked how Saeed’s achievement can affect Belayneh, Al Kamali said: "It won’t put pressure on her. On the contrary, I think it will be a great motivation for her to try and do the same."

In the men’s 400m yesterday, UAE’s Saoud Abdelkarim advanced to the semi-finals with a season best 47.20 but the 26-year-old was unable to make it to the final.

Saeed’s medal is the UAE’s second of the Games. Sheikh Juma bin Dalmook Al Maktoum had won bronze in double trap last Thursday.

Elsewhere in the track, Asian Games athletics judges stripped Bahrain’s Kenya-born runner Ruth Jebet of her steeplechase victory as she was about to collect the gold medal after a crushing win.

The 17-year-old junior world champion was led away in tears as Bahraini team leaders wrangled with race officials who ruled that Jebet had stumbled and put a foot inside the track.

She had annihilated the field at Incheon’s Asiad Main Stadium, crossing the line in nine minutes, 31.36 seconds, more than 24 seconds inside the Games record.

But as Jebet, who switched nationality to Bahrain last year, was about to step onto the podium, the stadium announcer declared that the result had been cancelled, drawing gasps from the crowd.

Most popular

Related Sections