Weightlifter Aisha Al Balushi to carry flag for UAE at Rio Olympics

Olympics-bound UAE weightlifting team receive plaudits from Sheikh Sultan bin Mejren.

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DUBAI // Sheikh Sultan bin Mejren, president of the Emirates Weightlifting Federation (EWF), has saluted the efforts of the country’s female weightlifting team after their efforts earned the UAE a second consecutive Olympic qualification.

The EWF have nominated Aisha Al Balushi to carry the UAE flag at the Rio Olympic Games. The 24-year-old Emirati follows in the footsteps of Khadija Mohammed, who took part in the 2012 London Olympic.

Al Balushi, who will participate in the 58kg weight category, was part of the UAE's seven-member team at the Asian Championships in Uzbekistan in April and the combined performance of the Emirati team at the tournament, coupled with a few doping tests elsewhere, earned them a spot for the Rio Olympics.

The decision to award the UAE a spot in the women’s weightlifting section at Rio came at an International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) executive meeting in Georgia, and the EWF announced Al Balushi as their nominee at a press conference today (Thursday).

“We are really proud of all the seven members of the UAE team who took part in Tashkent and created this opportunity for us,” said Bin Mejren. “Aisha, of course, got the highest score in qualifying and so we have chosen her.

“She has represented the UAE at a lot of competitions in this region, Asia and the world, and has done really well. We are proud of her and we are proud to see the unity in this team.

“We are proud as a federation as well to achieve a second successive Olympic qualification, without having too many facilities for the sport. We are proud to be representing the UAE and we are proud to be present at the Olympics, and we dedicate this qualification to our leaders.”

Al Balushi, who has been representing the UAE since 2009, was thrilled with the qualification, but insisted it was a team achievement.

“We would not have earned this qualification spot without the effort of each and every member of this team,” Al Balushi said. “So, while I feel really fortunate that I have been chosen to represent my country at the Olympics, this honour belongs to each and every member of the team. I would not be on this trip without them and I hope I will make all of them proud.”

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