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Kuwait athletes ‘ready’ as Tokyo Games get underway

TOKYO: Kuwait’s flagbearer Lara Dashti leads the Kuwaiti delegation during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on Friday. – AFP photos

TOKYO: Kuwait’s contingent of athletes participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games said yesterday they are fully “ready” to represent their country as the marquee event overshadowed by the COVID pandemic opened in a city under a state of emergency because of a resurgence of new cases.

Men’s skeet shooter Abdullah Al-Rashidi, who won bronze in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, promised to do everything in his power to propel his country to prominence in an event of such magnitude, simultaneously reaching another highlight of what has been a prolific Olympic odyssey, with seven appearances.

Making his Olympic debut, Mansour Al-Rashidi, another Kuwaiti men’s skeet shooter, said he looked forward to delighting Kuwaiti fans and giving them a reason to celebrate, pointing out that he was ready to prove his mettle with some of the world’s best Olympic shooters.

Members of the delegations from Kuwait (left), Honduras (center) and the Marshall Islands pose for a photo during the opening ceremony.

Swimmers Lara Dashti and Abbas Qali said they were equally prepared for their respective competitions on July 29-30. The Kuwaiti athletes haven been “well taken care of” ahead of the spectator-free Games in a bid to encourage them to put on career-defining performances, according to the country’s Olympic committee member Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah.

On Friday, Dashti became Kuwait’s first female athlete to have ever lifted her country’s flag at an Olympic opening ceremony as she took part in the event alongside fellow men’s shooter Talal Al-Rashidi at the Tokyo 2020 Games on Friday. The illustrious sporting event has allowed two competitors to carry their nation’s flag in unison for the first time ever, breaking a decades-old tradition requiring a single flagbearer.

Speaking about the milestone, Dashti was quoted by Kuwait’s Olympic Committee as saying she was “overwhelmed with happiness” and that her feelings were “indescribable”, having reached the “pinnacle of joy and pleasure in a moment that will remain etched in memory.” Speaking for herself and on behalf of her female counterparts, Dashti said the women competitors felt a sense of responsibility and urgency at the games, where they hoped to do their absolute best.

Rashidi, meanwhile, described the endeavor as “historic,” adding “every Kuwaiti has the right to take pride in their country and their feeling of belonging to it.” The trap shooter, a 2018 world champion, two-time Asian Games gold medalist and 2012 Olympic Games competitor, felt “enthusiastic,” saying he looked forward to making an achievement for his country. – KUNA

 

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