UAE Rio 2016 squad to be announced on Sunday

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A fifth Games: For Sheikh Saeed

The UAE National Olympic Committee will announce on Sunday the final list of Emirati athletes headed to the Rio Games next month as well as the name of the flagbearer for the opening ceremony.

The Rio 2016 Olympics will take place from August 5-21, with the UAE sending competitors in a wide range of sports including cycling, track and field, weightlifting, judo, swimming and shooting.

The flagbearer at the London 2012 Olympics, Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, will once again spearhead the Emirati challenge in shooting.

Sheikh Saeed, 39, will be contesting his fifth consecutive Olympics. He will be joined by Saif bin Futtais in the skeet shooting event, while Khalid Al Kaabi will fly the UAE flag in the double trap.

The track and field squad will comprise of Ethiopian-born runners Betlhem Desalegn Belayneh and Alia Saeed, and hammer thrower Mohamed Omar Al Khatib.

Nada Al Bedwawi is set to become the first-ever female swimmer from the UAE to feature at the Olympics and will be jumping in the pool for the 50m freestyle. Al Ain swimmer Yaaqoub Al Saadi will be making his Olympic debut, contesting the 100m backstroke.

The nation’s No1 cyclist Yousif Mirza will make it the first time since 1992 an Emirati will feature in cycling at the Games. The UAE judo team comprises of a trio of naturalised Moldovans, Victor Scvortov (Men’s -73 kg), Sergiu Toma (Men’s -81 kg), and Ivan Remarenco (Men’s -100 kg).

They hadn’t fulfilled their residency requirements when they were banned from representing the UAE at the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014 but are now allowed to wear Emirati colours in Rio.

Weightlifter Aisha Al Balushi will compete in the -58kg class, making it 13 athletes confirmed so far for the upcoming Games. The final delegation will be announced on Sunday at Emirates Towers.

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