175-member UAE squad to participate in second GCC Games

175-member UAE squad to participate in second GCC Games
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Published October 7th, 2015 - 20:53 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Strong UAE squad for second GCC Games
Strong UAE squad for second GCC Games

A 175-member UAE squad will leave for Dammam next week to participate in the Second GCC Games in the eastern Saudi Arabian city from October 15-26.

The UAE squad will include 114 athletes, who will be participating in 14 different sporting disciplines from a total of 15 over 12 days of the competition. The UAE are participating in all disciplines, except football.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President, UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC) will lead the squad while Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Health, Vice-President and Chairman, Executive Council, UAE NOC, will be the chef de mission.

The UAE returned with a total of 21 medals, including four gold — all of them in karate — nine silver and eight bronze when the inaugural edition of the games was held in Bahrain in 2011.

However, this time the target has been set and Omar Abdul Rahman, who will be the manager of the UAE contingent, said that all athletes were targeting improved performances. “We are not going to Dammam to just make up the numbers. We want to be number one. We will settle for nothing less,” Abdul Rahman told media here yesterday.

“The organising committee has added another four sport disciplines such as endurance, camel racing and weightlifting, and that definitely works in our favour for more medals than what we won in Bahrain four years ago,” he added.

In Dammam, athletics will have the biggest representation from the UAE with 17 athletes taking part, while swimming will be the second biggest with ten athletes. Other sports that the UAE athletes will figure in include basketball, volleyball, bowling, judo, karate, table tennis, handball, endurance, showjumping, endurance, camel racing, weightlifting and goalball for visually-impaired athletes.

As per the latest count, nearly 900 athletes from the six Gulf countries have confirmed for the 91 medals in various competitions that will get under way with the opening ceremony on October 15. The UAE athletes will be departing for Dammam in batches with the technical committee members first to leave on October 8.

The GCC Games are open to six Gulf nations but a couple of years back, the executive committee of the GCC NOCs had accepted a proposal to study the possible inclusion of Jordan, Yemen and Morocco for the Games.

While a final decision on this has been stayed by the governing body till further notice, it has paved the way for the inclusion of women’s table tennis and women’s taekwondo in Dammam.

Mona Al Makki from the UAE Karate Association hoped to repeat the success of 2011 where the UAE karate players bagged all four gold medals. “We did well in 2011 and I think we are ready to win some more this time as well,” Al Makki said.

“We have a strong team of three players in kata and another three in kumite. We can easily look at medals in the individual and team competitions,” she added.

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