Meet the UAE Olympic squad at the Tokyo Games

A look at the Emirates' contingent, their events and medal prospects

Saif Bin Futtais. (Courtesy Aletihad)
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The UAE have sent a five-member squad to the Tokyo Olympics, its smallest contingent since the nation’s first Games participation at Los Angeles 1984.

The National Olympic Committee had initially named six participants - four qualifiers and two wildcards. Discus thrower Fatima Al Hosani was offered a wildcard but is ineligible to compete as she has not taken part in international competition for more than two years.

Here is a look at each member and their events:

Saif bin Futtais (shooting)

Saif bin Futtais will be the first UAE participant in action when he competes in the men’s skeet on Sunday.

The Emirati, 47, is a seasoned campaigner who has competed for more than 20 years on the international circuit. It will be a second Games for Bin Futtais after Rio 2016.

Having made his international debut at the 2000 World Championships in Cairo, Bin Futtais' best finish was sixth with a score of 124 in Belgrade in 2011.

He has three medals at the World Cup: gold at Larnaka in 2015, silver at New Delhi in 2021 and bronze at Acapulco in 2013.

Bin Futtais also won three Asian Championships golds and four silvers; a silver in the ISSF Grand Prix; an Asian Games bronze in Jakarta and a Continental qualification gold in New Delhi in 2016.

He is one of the nation's main medal hopes.

Victor Scvortov (white). Courtesy IJF

Victor Scvortov (judo)

The second UAE athlete in action at Tokyo is judoka Victor Scvortov, who takes to the mat in the 73-kilogram weight on Monday.

His medal hopes at Rio 2016 ended when he fell to Japan’s world champion Shohei Ono, the eventual gold medal winner, in the third round.

The UAE Wrestling and Judo Federation is hopeful the Moldovan-born judoka can replicate his former teammate Sergiu Toma’s run at Rio, however, when he collected a bronze medal.

Scvortov, 33, has had a consistent run since Rio and arrives at Tokyo ranked 20th in the world.

Since Rio, he has won bronze at the 2018 Asian Games and followed up with bronze at the Asian-Oceanic Championships in Fujairah in 2019; silver at the Grand Prix in Montreal and bronze at the Grand Slam in Kazan in 2021.

Scvortov shoulders the nation’s medal hope after Toma retired because of a back injury in 2018.

ABU DHABI - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - 02OCT2014 - UAE's  Ivan Remarenco (in white) and Belgium's Toma Nikiforov fights in quarter- final in -100 kilograms category during Judo Grand Slam, Abu Dhabi 2014, organised International Judo Federation yesterday at FGB Arena at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National (to go with Amith story for Sports)

Ivan Remarenco (judo)

Ivan Remarenco is another member of the UAE Olympic contingent with medal prospects.

Remarenco has struggled in recent years with back injuries but finished fifth in the Asia-Oceanic Championships in Fujairah in April for his first tournament in more than two years.

The 32-year-old won the World Cup in Almaty in 2011 representing Moldova and was Romanian champion in 2012 before joining Toma and Scvortov in the UAE squad in 2013. He won a World Championships bronze in 2014 in the 100kg.

Tokyo will be Remarenco's third Olympics. He represented Moldova at London 2012 and the UAE at Rio.

Yousuf Al Matrooshi. Victor Besa / The National

Yousuf Al Matrooshi (swimming)

For young Emirati swimmer Yousuf Al Matrooshi, Tokyo will mostly be about soaking up the Olympic experience.

The Dubai resident, 18, received a wildcard for the 100-metre freestyle at Tokyo.

“The Olympics is an experience that I can take forward to the Worlds and compete in front of my people, family and friends,” Al Matrooshi said.

Al Matrooshi first came into the spotlight when he broke the national age-group record in the 100m butterfly that had stood for more than 23 years.

A gold medal in 100m freestyle at the Gulf Championship in Kuwait in 2019 remains his best result so far.

He has competed at the Asian Age Group Championships in Uzbekistan in 2017, Fina World Junior Swimming Championships in Hungary and the Arab Championships in Morocco, both in 2019, and the Egyptian National Championships this April.

Hassan Al Noobi (track and field)

The UAE's lone representative on the track runs in the 100m heats on Saturday, July 31.

Updated: July 30, 2021, 11:12 AM