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March 15, 2016
Qatar eyeing 'best ever' medals haul at 2016 Olympic Games

Dr Thani Al Kuwari (right), Secretary-General of Qatar > Olympic Committee, and British boxing star Amir Khan, are seen in file > photo take in Doha in October 2015.
DOHA, March 15, 2016 - Qatar will be eyeing their best ever medals haul at the 2016 Olympic Games, this was said by Dr Thani Al Kuwari, Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC).

At the London Olympic Games, Qatar picked up two bronze medals after shooting hero Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and track and field star Murtaz Barshim made it to the podium finishes in their respective beats.

Overall Qatar have won four bronze medals at the 1992, 2000 and 2012 editions of the Summer Games.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will mark the 8th time Qatar has participated in the Games, with the first appearance recorded in 1984 in Los Angeles only five short years since the establishment of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) in 1979.

According to Dr Thani, Qatar is reaping the benefits of careful planning and training of its athletes at all levels in the last decade.

"It is our mission to do as well as we can at the Olympic Games," Al Kuwari said in an interview.

"It is our ambition that we do better than how we done at the past Olympic Games in terms of number of athletes or when it comes to (getting the) results," he added.

"We have been planning meticulously to get our best athletes qualified for the Olympic Games in 2016 and beyond," Dr Thani said.

Dr Thani said Qatar's equestrian squad and handball team have already qualified for the Olympic Games.

The QOC official said in the interview posted on Al Kass website: "The Qatari Olympic Committee is looking forward to its new era under the chairmanship of His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani. Our aim is to win more Olympic medals in Brazil."

Qatar's sports calendar is packed with high profile events. Last year in January, hosts Qatar lost to France in the final of the Men's World Handball Championships after a blazing run to the title clash.

Last October, Qatar hosted the AIBA World Boxing Championships 2015 just days before welcoming the athletes for the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships.

This year in October, the top names in cycling will arrive for the 2016 UCI World Road Championships.

In December last year, Qatar's national handball team beat Iran 28-19 in the final game of the Asian qualifying event that saw the Middle East nation seal their 2016 Olympic Games berth.

Dr Thani underlined the importance of Qatar's popular 'Schools Olympic Program' (SOP), saying the project launched in 2007 has provided platform for schoolchildren eyeing professional sport at a young age.

The SOP was launched by the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

"We consider this programme as a way of supporting kids when it comes to playing sports. It spreads a culture of exercise and healthy living among the youth," Dr Thani said.

Dr Thani said sport remains a vital part of Qatar's 2030 Vision and that SOP will go a long way in promoting the spirit of sports among the youngsters in the country.

Dr Thani also highlighted the role in women in pushing the sports movement in Qatar. He said QOC continuously strives to add new events for young girls. He said women athletes represented Qatar at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

He said training women athletes and encouraging them to participate at events of represent the national squads was 'showing encouraging results'.

Qatar's list of medalists at the Olympic Games

Bronze - Mohammed Suleiman, 1992 Barcelona, Athletics, Men's 1500 metres
Bronze - Said Saif Asaad, 2000 Sydney, Weightlifting, Men's 105 kg
Bronze - Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, 2012 London, Shooting, Men's skeet
Bronze - Mutaz Essa Barshim, 2012 London, Athletics, Men's high jump
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