UAE Athletics Federation president Ahmad Al Kamali says he is unable to explain the failure of the country’s two runners to win a medal in the Asian Games’ 5,000m.
There was disappointment for the UAE as medal hopefuls Alia Saeed and Betlhem Belayneh finished sixth and 10th respectively in Thursday’s final.
Saeed posted a time of 15:30.46, 30 seconds behind winner Maryam Yusuf Jamal, the Olympic bronze medal winner from Bahrain, while Belayneh came home in 15:49.60, 49 seconds behind the champion.
Al Kamali said: “We were not expecting these positions. We expected both to finish higher and to get at least one medal.”
Saeed, 23, had been hoping to make it an Asian Games gold medal double after her 10,000m triumph, while Belayneh, nicknamed Betty, had won 5,000m gold at the Asian Athletics Championships held in Pune, India, last year.
Al Kamali added: “We might need to think about the training programme and after the report we will see what we can do. We have to see what went wrong and maybe make decisions to correct this, but we also have to be careful.”
He added: “We have to be realistic; many countries have 30 or 40 male and female athletes. We only have two, so we have to be patient with them. Both girls are still young so the future is bright for them.”
The 7EmiratesRun returns for its second edition to help raise money for Al Jalila Foundation’s charitable efforts to support children with disabilities in the UAE.
The run, endorsed by Dubai Sports Council, starts on November 21 and concludes on December 2, the 43rd UAE National Day.
Spanning a distance of 575km, the run will start in Abu Dhabi and finish in Dubai.
Last year, participants ran through the seven emirates to raise Dh100,000 to cover surgeries and post-operative care of Mohammed Ayoub, a Sharjah toddler suffering from limb deformities.
This year, organisers are hoping to raise Dh777,000 to help more children in the UAE.
“Dubai Sports Council is pleased to support this important sporting event, which delivers various benefits on both athletic and humanitarian levels,” said Dr Ahmed Sharif, director general of Dubai Sports Council.
“It also plays an important role in strengthening ties between the UAE’s citizens and residents.
The 7EmiratesRun will be led by race director and German expatriate Wendelin Lauxen, the Guinness World Record holder for the fastest time to complete a marathon on each of the seven continents.
The 7EmiratesRun has four categories, with participants having the option to run the entire 575km course, be part of a seven-member team relay, run either the full or partial course on any individual days, or be part of the special UAE National Day marathon limited to 43 runners.
The capital’s fastest growing run series returns to Zayed Sports City (ZSC) on Friday, October 10, with runners of all ages and abilities set to get tickled pink as they work their way round the premier sports venue for a good cause.
The first ADCB Zayed Sports City 5 and 10k Run of the season, presented by Activelife, will raise funds for Al Jalila Foundation with a donation from every entrance fee supporting breast cancer research through the charity.
Participants of any ability and age can take part in the run, which will start and finish at ZSC in Abu Dhabi.
More than 1,500 runners, a record number, took part in the last three run series and organisers Abu Dhabi Striders and ZSC expect numbers to grow by a further 20 per cent in the upcoming season.
Barry Bremner, general manager at ZSC, said: “Over the years, the run series has grown to become one of Abu Dhabi’s most popular amateur sporting events.
“It has experienced growth in participation unlike any other in the region. Emirati participation increased 124 per cent and female growth is at 71 per cent.”
Last season’s series saw the age gap between participants span across a staggering six decades. And Bremner pointed out that the run promotes a healthy lifestyle.
“Zayed Sports City is proud to organise an opportunity like this which encourages such a diverse group of people take control of their own healthy lifestyle.”
And Daniel Hughes, organising committee head for the Abu Dhabi Striders, has called on people to take part in the run where your participation can make a difference.
He said: “The calibre of the runs has attracted so many individuals from all over the community. Those who take running seriously can analyse their performance and support their training regimes, and casual runners will enjoy the exercise and atmosphere.
“The series offers a unique balance of stiff competition, camaraderie and sportsmanship that makes it appealing to everyone.”
Fiona Darby, vice president, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, is delighted to be associated with the event.
She said: “ADCB is committed to this cause through a number of initiatives and events and is seeing more and more engagement for breast cancer awareness events in the UAE. The ADCB Zayed Sports City 5 and 10k Run Series will surely witness an overwhelming response.
“Support among all runners has been fantastic and we are extremely happy to raise further awareness of breast cancer and funds for charitable associations. ADCB is dedicated to continue to champion this very worthy cause.
” While the pink race will benefit Al Jalila Foundation, future races in January and March will continue to support the Special Care Centre Abu Dhabi.
To sign up, visit www.premieronline. com before the registration deadline on Saturday, October 4.
What: ADCB Zayed Sports City 5 and 10km Run Series
Where: Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi
When: Friday, October 10, beginning at 07:00
Visit: www.premieronline.com for registration and more information