DO NOT PUBLISH Blame it on the facilities: Kamali

Ahmed al Kamali, the president of the UAE Athletics Federation, criticised the lack of the indoor facilities back home after another close miss at the Asian Indoor Games in Hanoi, Vietnam today. Ali Obaid Shirook became the second UAE athlete to miss out on a medal at the Games after finishing fourth in the 400m in 48.61 seconds, behind two Saudis and an Uzbek. The winning time was 47.31.

Saud Abdul Kareem, the youngest member of the UAE's five-member team at the championship, also faced disappointment in the same event after crashing into the Iranian sprinter Frotannia Madjid. On Saturday, the promising Omar Juma al Salfa, 21, had missed out on a podium in the 60m sprint after finishing fourth in 6.72 seconds, a national record. "I am really disappointed because we were expecting a medal in the 400m," said al Kamali. "But you cannot really fault the athletes.

"You cannot win medals by training just an hour at an event. I have been pleading with the Olympic Committee to built indoor facilities for such a long time. "We have the talent and quality, and our athletes have proven that, but we need facilities too. Without them, you cannot expect anything better. "We don't have a single indoor facility here. The only opportunity our athletes got to train indoors was in Hanoi itself, for just one hour. That is not enough for a competition of this level.

"There would be so many other benefits of having indoor facilities here, particularly because of the weather in this part of the world. We could use such facilities for an year-round programme." After the disappointments of the first two days, al Kamali is still hoping for a medal for the championship with Shirook, Kareem, al Salfa and Jasem Saeed in action today in the 4x400m relay. Mohammed Abbas will be competing in the triple jump.

"By logic, we should have a good chance in the relay," said Kamali. "Two of the four reached the 400m final, so we still have hope."


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