UAE's Yousuf Al Matrooshi grateful for 'incredible learning curve' at Games

Swimmer finishes 50th overall in 100m freestyle heats

UAE swimmer Yousuf Al Matrooshi said the Tokyo Olympics was a great learning curve as his campaign ended on Tuesday.

The Emirati swimmer finished third behind Yemeni Mokhtar Al Yamani and Andrew Chetcuti of Malta in his heat, but was ranked 50th overall in a field of 70 in 100-metre freestyle category.

Al Matrooshi, 18, clocked 51.50 seconds in the single eliminating heat at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Tuesday. The top 16 from the nine heats reached Wednesday’s semi-finals.

“It is an experience I can take forward, firstly to the Fina World Swimming [short course] Championships,” he said.

“It has been a fantastic feeling for me to represent the UAE and to achieve a fair result, finishing third in a heat that included seven other swimmers.”

Al Matrooshi received a wildcard to Tokyo and also for the Worlds later this year at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island from December 16-21.

“I soaked in every moment of my first Olympics and I want to take this momentum forward to all the important swimming events I plan to participate in the foreseeable future,” he added.

“My next major competition is the Worlds in December and I hope to do better in front of my home fans, family and friends. I’m not going to stop at that but train for Paris 2024.

“It has been an incredible journey since I started swimming from the age of nine. The experience I gained from Tokyo was unbelievable. I have been speaking to many athletes who shared their experience to be at the Olympics.”

The UAE travelled with a five member team to Tokyo. The two yet to compete are - judoka Ivan Remarenco on Thursday and wildcard Hassan Al Noobi in the 100m sprint.

Updated: July 27th 2021, 5:12 PM