With the Olympics fever in the air, Bahrain is abuzz with the excitement of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Kingdom’s representatives will compete in Athletics, Shooting, Swimming and Wrestling. Rio marks Bahrain’s ninth participation in the summer games. Bahrain also took part in the Olympics in Los Angeles (1984), Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008) and London (2012).

From the onset of the Olympics 2016, Bahrain’s athletes have been in high spirits as they were counting the days down. Chef de Mission Yousef Abdulqader had told the media: “Everything is going well” reassuring innumerable expectant supporters back home. “Our athletes who are already here in Brazil are training hard and looking forward to getting into action,” he said.

20160811_5C2016081100004337-swim20160808_5C2016080800211129-fatemaSwimmers Farhan Saleh and Fatema Almahmeed had been with the Bahrain delegation from their first arrival earlier last week, and had been focused on intense preparations ahead of their battles in the pool last week.

Nineteen-year-old Saleh competed in heat four of the men’s 50 metres freestyle first round. Although he did not eventually qualify for the finals , he did clock a personal best timing in the event. This is truly inspiring and Saleh believes that the international competition helped him to improve his timing. Sixteen-year-old Fatema contested the women’s 50 metres freestyle.

Shooter Mahmood Haji arrived in Rio last week and began gearing up for his event in the 50m rifle prone men.

Some of Bahrain’s 28-strong athletics team reached Brazil with the others set to make it in Rio over the next few days. Wrestler Adam Batirov joined later. He will be competing in the men’s freestyle 65kg class, set for a later date.

“We have had no major problems here in Rio, everything has been quite satisfactory. Of course, when the event is of such a magnitude, certain small issues are bound to happen. But we are really excited to be here and be a part of the biggest sporting extravaganza in the planet,” Abdulqader said.

Meanwhile, Bahrain Olympic Committee secretary general Abdulrahman Askar, who is with the team in Rio attended a ceremony hosted by the Saudi Olympic Committee at a local five-star hotel.

Askar was welcomed by high-ranking Saudi officials. Askar conveyed the greetings of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and BOC president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

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Bahrain is competing with its biggest-ever delegation in the Olympics, with 40 athletes qualifying and 32 of them set to get into action. The Kingdom is eagerly waiting for its sporting stars to shine on the Olympic horizon and achieve the goals they have set for themselves over the past four years on intensive training.

The track and field team includes track star Abubakar Abbas, 2014 Asian Games champion Kemi Adekoya, and two-time silver medalist Mimi Belete.

Bahrain has one qualified wrestler for the men’s freestyle 65 kg into the Olympic competition as a result of his semifinal triumph at the initial meet of the World Qualification Tournament in Istanbul, signifying the nation’s debut in the sport.

Shooter Mahmood Haji, swimmer Fatema Almahmeed, and no less than four of Bahrain’s top track and field athletes will be striving for excellence.

Fatema was registered to swim in the first of 12 heats. She is scheduled to compete with Bunturable Jalloh of Sierra Leone, Nada Albedwawi of the UAE and Ei Ei Thet of Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Bahrain’s athletics team were busy in what was set to be the first day of competition in track and field at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Abraham Rotich ran in the men’s 800m first round. He competed in the first of seven heats, with each racing comprising eight athletes. Rotich headed into the event with a season’s best of one minute 45.83 seconds, while his personal best is 1:43.13.

Only top three in each heat plus three fastest losers move on to the 800m semi-finals. Tigist Gashaw was in heat two of the women’s 1,500 metres. There are 14 athletes in each of the three heats, and only the first six finishers from each heat plus the six fastest losers move on to the semi-finals.

Tigist has a season’s best of  4:06.53 heading into the race, while her personal best is 4:05.58.

Next, the national team’s superstar sprinters of Abbas Abubakar and Ali Khamis are all set to set the track on fire in the men’s 400m heats. Abubakar will be in the sixth heat. There are eight athletes in each heat. Abubakar has a season best of 46.05s and a personal best 45.15s.

In heat number seven, Khamis will be in action. He has a personal best 44.55s, which is also his season’s best. Only the first three in each heat, plus three fastest losers, move on to the next round.

Speaking to the media, Khamis said that he is both physically and mentally ready to compete, and he is looking forward to doing his best and represent not only Bahrain but also the Arab world on the Olympic stage.

As expectations soar and the atmosphere at the Rio Olympics gets heated up with excitement, BTW wishes all participants of Bahrain the very best in their endeavours!