A guide to the Rio 2016 Olympics and the UAE’s athletes

By

With the Olympic Games in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro fast approaching (August 5 to 21), athletes around the world are gearing up to represent their country in what is set to be an exciting few weeks.

This year’s Olympics is already set to break records, with the announcement of the inclusion of a non-national team taking part in the tournament. A team made up entirely of refugees.

The 10 refugees include two Syrian swimmers, two judokas from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as a marathon runner from Ethiopia and five middle-distance runners from South Sudan.

Here’s a video introducing you to the team:

The 2016 Olympics is going to be massive, with 10,500 athletes from 205 different countries competing on behalf of their nation to win gold.

A total of 306 competitions will be held in 42 different sports, with golf returning as a sport for the first time in 112 years, as well as rugby making a return after 92 years.

An enormous 7.5 million tickets are on sale, demonstrating the massive amount of pull this year’s tournament is going to have.

Here’s the latest trailer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games released by BBC Sport last week:

The UAE’s athletes

So where are the UAE in all this? The UAE may be small, but that’s not to say it isn’t mighty. So in an effort to get you more acquainted with the Olympians set to fly our flag, here are some of the athletes from around the emirates heading to Rio 2016.


Aisha Al Balushi

Sport: Weightlifting, 58kg category

Age: 24

Fact: Al Balushi has been representing the UAE in a number of regional and world weightlifting tournaments since 2009.

Yaqoob Al Saadi

Sport: Swimming, 50m and 100m backstroke

Age: 20

Fact: Yaqoob is the current title holder of the men’s 50m and 100m backstroke record in the UAE.

Nada Al Bedwawi

Sport: Swimming, 50m freestyle

Age: 19

Fact: Al Bedwawi holds the UAE’s women’s 100m backstroke record with a time she set at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Betlhem Desalegn

Race: 1,500m

Age: 24

Fact: Betlhem was a gold medallist in the 2015 Asian championships in both the 1,500m and 5,000m.

Alia Saeed Mohammed

Race: 10,000m

Age: 25

Fact: Alia holds the current UAE national record in the 10,000 metres with a time of 31:51.86 minutes at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.

Yousif Mirza

Race: Men’s Road Race

Age: 27

Fact: Last year, Yousif suffered severe injuries to his shoulder and legs in a motorcycle crash in Jumeirah.

Victor Scvortov

Sport: Judo

Age: 28

Fact: Victor won a World Championship medal as first judoka from the UAE in 2014. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

Sergiu Toma

Sport: Judo

Age: 29

Fact: Sergiu won the Judo Grand Prix in Ulaanbaatar, Abu Dhabi and Quindaoin 2013. Will his lucky streak continue?

*MORE: Dubai could soon bid for the Olympics*

*ALSO: Want to face your worst fears? We know just the place*

Ivan Remarenco

Sport: Judo

Age: 27

Fact: Ivan competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in the under 90kg event. Although he’s yet to win gold in the Olympics, could this be his year?

Khaled Al-Kaabi

Sport: Shooting, Men’s Double Trap

Fact: Khaled, an Abu Dhabi Police officer, had only two years of shooting behind him before he qualified for this year’s Olympics.

Saeed bin Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Sport: Shooting, Men’s Skeet

Age: 40

Fact: Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the nephew of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Saif bin Futtais

Sport: Shooting, Men’s Skeet

Age: 42

Fact: Saif is a two-time ISSF World Cup medalist and managed to bag gold in the Asia Olympic Shooting Qualifying Tournament this year.

– For more about Dubai straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook.

Featured image: ndtvimg.com, rio2016.com, thesportsagenda.com.