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Qatar athletics team preps for London Worlds

With a week to go before the IAAF World Championships in London, the Qatar national athletics team continues its preparations for the event that will see over 1,900 athletes from over 200 countries vie for glory.
The Qatar team for the event that runs from August 4-13 includes Rio Olympics silver medallist high jumper Mutaz Barshim, two-time world junior gold medallist hammer thrower Ashraf Elseify; javelin thrower Ahmed Bader, world indoor 400m silver medallist Abdalelah Haroun and 400m hurdles athlete Abderrahman Samba.
National and Asian record holder Barshim, who jumps off his left foot using the Fosbury Flop technique, has won all four Diamond League events he has participated in this season with a best of 2.38m in Oslo.
Barshim’s personal best is 2.43m, which he jumped in Brussels in September 2014. He followed up his bronze in 2012 London with a silver medal in Rio last year.
Bader’s qualification for the Rio Games was remarkably his first-ever senior participation and he was the youngest competitor in the discipline. He also became the first-ever Qatari to compete in javelin throw at an Olympic Games.
The young javelin thrower proved to be a formidable competitor after qualifying for Rio with an incredible throw of 84.74 metres.
He recently qualified for the London 2017 World Championships during the 16th GCC Athletics Championship.
Qatari hammer thrower Elseify, an Aspire Academy graduate, impressed many after his 2012 world junior championship effort of 85.57m, which is a world junior record. He then topped the 2014 edition of the championships with an 84.71m throw.
He has since finished second at the 2015 Asian Championships in Wuhan, China, and third at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku this year.
Another Aspire Academy graduate, Samba claimed top honours in the 400m hurdles event at the Doha Diamond League this year, powering to victory in a time of 48.44 seconds, while American Kerron Clement (49.40) and South African L J van Zyl (49.49) came in second and third.
Samba cruised to victory in the Sasol-NWU International athletics meeting earlier in March in South Africa with 48.31 seconds.
Haroun, who specialises in 400 metres, is the 2015 Asian champion in the event and holds the Asian indoor record.
His first recorded performance was a time of 45.74 seconds in Doha in April 2014, which placed him among the world’s most promising young sprinters for the event.
He announced himself on the elite scene in his next performance at the XL Galan in February 2015 by running an Asian indoor record of 45.39 seconds, which was also the third fastest ever by a junior category athlete and the fastest ever indoor debut.
Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF) general secretary Mohamed Issa al-Fadala said, “Qatar’s athletes are determined and will put in all their efforts to achieve what we all hope for and take podium positions.
“We will work hard to boost the success of Qatari athletics, especially as Qatar will host the 17th edition of the IAAF World Championships in 2019 and then participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.”
For his part, QAF board member and national team head Khalifa Abdulmalik said that the team will head to London next week after completing their European camps, while Abdalelah Haroun, who is currently training in Doha, will join them there.
Abdulmalik said that the athletes’ participation in the IAAF Diamond League has only added to their confidence and performance.
Veteran athlete, QAF board member and head of the Qatari delegation at the World Championships, Talal Mansour said that Qatar athletics has always strived to offer joy to the people of Qatar thanks to their superior performances in major tournaments and Olympic Games.
Mansour, who has never been absent from Qatar’s national athletics since he was 14 years old when he started his career as an athlete, pledged that Qatar will win three medals at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
QAF board member Khalid Rashid al-Marri too praised the athletes and added that the federation has been moving ahead according to plan as has been shown by recent performances.
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