Yousuf Al Matrooshi, holding the flag of the United Arab Emirates, leads the country’s contingent to the Tokyo Olympics during its opening ceremony in Tokyo on Friday. Reuters
Gulf Today Report
Participating in the Olympics is a passionate dream for any athlete and Friday July 23, 2021 will forever be etched in the memory of promising swimmer from the United Arab Emirates Yousuf Al Matrooshi as he had the honor of leading the country’s delegation during the the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.
Matrooshi, who will compete in the 100-meter freestyle in his Olympic debut, was the UAE flag bearer at the opening ceremony in Tokyo.
Matrooshi expressed his joy after becoming the standard bearer.
“It’s an unforgettable moment of my life. I feel truly honored after hoisting the flag of the United Arab Emirates at the opening ceremony of the tournament. “
“It is a prestigious event that is attended by millions of people around the world. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that every athlete looks forward to with passion, ”he added.
Matrooshi also appreciated the President of the National Olympic Committee, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum, for granting him this great honor.
“The flag of the United Arab Emirates is a symbol of glory and to hold it in front of the delegates from around the world attending the ceremony is a real pride.”
The UAE swimmer has also been named as one of two UAE wildcard contenders who will represent the nation at this year’s FINA World Swimming Championships (25m).
Matrooshi, 18, and Layla Al Khatib, 14, are the two Emirati athletes selected to take on the challenge of facing elite international swimmers at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) to be held at the impressive Etihad Arena on Yas Island from Dec. 16-21.
“Competing in the Olympics and the World Championships is every athlete’s dream and I feel blessed to be part of both of these events,” said Matrooshi.
The six-member UAE team located in Japan consists of Matrooshi, track athletes Hassan Al Noobi and Fatima Al Hosani, judokas Victor Scvortov and Ivan Remarenco and shooter Saif Bin Futtais.
This is the smallest contingent sent by the UAE since their first appearance at the Games in Los Angeles in 1984.
Since the country’s first participation in the Games in Los Angeles in 1984, the United Arab Emirates have won two Olympic medals.
Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum captured a historic double trap gold medal for the United Arab Emirates in Athens in 2004 and Sergio Toma became the country’s second medalist when he won bronze in the men’s 81kg category. the competition in Rio 2016.
Futtais will be in action on Sunday when he takes part in the clay pigeon shooting competition.
The opening ceremony was also attended by Shehab Ahamed Al Faheem, UAE Ambassador to Japan and Engineer Aza Bint Suleyman, Deputy Secretary General for Administrative and Financial Affairs of the UAE National Olympic Committee.
Faheem said, “UAE has made every affordable effort to continually support their sons in all matters. Our wise leadership always values all efforts and mobilizes all resources for the bright future of our country.
“Witnessing the flag of the United Arab Emirates fluttering at the opening ceremony of the world’s largest sporting event inspires us with glory, honor, optimism and the challenge to do more in all sporting competitions. “
More than 11,000 athletes from 207 countries have arrived to take part in the event for which a bio-secure bubble has been set up to try to keep the action going in the Japanese capital over the next two weeks.