Bahrain set for Arab athletics...Bekele will Run for Bahrain

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Bahrain set for Arab athletics...Bekele will Run for Bahrain

Unread post by Ethiopians » 21 Sep 2009 19:07

Bahrain set for Arab athletics...Bekele will run for Bahrain

By PATRICK SALOMON, Posted on » Tuesday, September 22, 2009

BAHRAIN have named an 18-member team to compete at the 16th Arab Athletics Championships, which is set to take place from October 6 to 9 in Damascus.

The Bahrain Athletics Association (BAA) confirmed the squad last night after finalising the roster during a board meeting on Saturday.

The nationals will be bannered by several elite athletes who had also represented the kingdom at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin last month. They include Belal Mansoor Ali, Tareq Mubarak Taher, Mohammed Yousef Al Shehabi, Stephen Kamar, Khaled Kamal Yaseen and Mimi Belete.

World champions Maryam Yusuf Jamal and Youssef Saad Kamel were among the top names not included on the team.

Belal will be contesting the men's 800 metres and 1,500m; Taher the men's 3,000m steeplechase; Al Shehabi the men's triple jump and 4x100m relay; Kamar and Yaseen the men's half-marathon; and Mimi the women's 800m and 1,500m events.

Each of the leading Bahraini talents could not claim a medal at the world championships, although Belal and Taher came close as finalists in their respective events.

The team's other athletes among the men include Mohammed Sanad (100m and 4x100m relay), Mohammed Farhan (100m and 4x100m relay), Salem Nasser (high jump and 4x100m relay), Hassan Mahboob (5,000m) and promising youngster Alemu Bekele (1,500m and 5,000m).
Alemu Bekele cruising to victory in the men's junior race at the
Asian Cross Country Championships (Elshadai Negash)

Bekele is being widely tipped to be the next Kenenisa Bekele, having a similar running style as his multi-titled world record-holding namesake of Ethiopia. They also both originate from the same hometown.

On the distaff, Mimi is among eight women on the Bahrain team. The others include Faten Abdulnabi (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay), Fatima Fufallah (100m hurdles, 4x100m relay), Sabrine Yousef (4x100m relay), Fatima Aamer (100m, 200m and 4x100m relay), Gladys Cherotich Kibiwot (10,000m), Tejitu Daba Chalchissa (5,000m) and Shitaye Eshete Habtegebrel (5,000m).

"We have quite a strong team, and we hope our athletes' potential can translate into victories," BAA technical manager Lounes Madene told the GDN.

"All the top Arab nations in athletics will be competing, so it will be a heated competition even for our best athletes. But we are confident in their abilities and we look forward to them winning medals for Bahrain."

Bahrain's stiffest challenges are expected to come from the likes of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Jordan, Yemen, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to name a few.

The previous edition of the championships took place in Amman in 2007, when star sprinter Ruqaya Al Ghasra was the leading figure on the Bahrain team. The nationals went on to win five gold medals from a total of 16, as they finished third overall behind Morocco who had 16 golds and Saudi who had six.

Source:Gulf Daily News
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