The Rio de Janeiro Olympics are just a couple of weeks away, with athletes around the world in last-minute training mode.
So what about the top sportspeople representing the UAE when the Games kick off on August 5?
The Emirates is sending a 13-person-strong team to Brazil, with athletes pegged to compete in six categories – judo, swimming, weightlifting, athletics, cycling and shooting.
The 2016 Olympics is set to be enormous, with 10,500 athletes from 205 different countries competing to take home a medal, and 7.5 million tickets on sale for spectators.
This will be the ninth Olympics that the UAE has competed in, with the Emirates winning their first medal at the 2004 Games in Greece thanks to Ahmed Al Maktoum scoring the gold spot in shooting.
Watch Ahmed Al Maktoum in action:
The female contingent
Of the baker’s dozen of athletes heading to Rio 2016 Olympics, four are women.
Aisha Al Balushi will represent the UAE in the 58kg weightlifting division, Alia Saeed Mohammed will compete in the women’s 10,000 metre race, Betlhem Desalegn will take on the women’s 1,500m sprint, and swimmer Nada Al Bedwawi will contest the 50m freestyle.
Speedo ambassador Al Bedwawi has also scored an added bonus – the 19 year old will become the first woman to bear the UAE flag at the opening ceremony.
The teen, who is the youngest athlete in the team heading to Rio, also made history last year as the first female to represent the Emirates at the World Swimming Championships.
“She’s a young lady and she’s good and we’ve given her big support to have the UAE flag,” Dawood Al Hajri, Assistant Secretary General of the UAE National Olympic Committee, told The National. “She will be in the front; this is the first time.”
Al Bedwawi currently holds the UAE’s women’s 100m backstroke record with a time she set at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
Runner Saeed Mohammed, 25, holds the national women’s record in the 10,000m, at 31.09.77. Fellow athlete Desalegn, 24, was a gold medallist in the 2015 Asian championships, though she did suffer a hamstring injury earlier this year.
Al Balushi, 24, has been representing the UAE in weightlifting since 2009.
We wish the quartet well, and can’t wait to see how they do in Rio. Go #TeamUAE
Main image: olympic.org/ BEIJING 2008 – OPENING CEREMONY – 19