Bahrain at the Olympics in Tokyo! Let the games begin!
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Amid the spectacle of last-minute personnel changes, embarrassments over resurfacing of past abusive comments, and the looming presence of the pandemic, Olympics games begin officially today in Tokyo, after a year-long delay over pandemic concerns. The opening ceremony will be a subdued event with just 950 people - including around 15 global leaders.
Besides, the organisers had also barring spectators from most Olympic events as COVID-19 cases surge in the capital. Bahrain will be one of over 200 delegations participating in the ceremonial parade of Nations scheduled to begin at 2 pm Bahrain time. Bahrainis are participating in five sporting events, including handball, athletics, swimming, shooting and boxing.
Tokyo also marks Bahrain’s 10th participation in the Summer Olympics, wherein past Bahrain had won three medals, including two gold and one silver.
Meanwhile, the Olympics competition has already begun, with the Japanese women’s softball team getting the hosts off to a winning start on Wednesday.
With the Japanese capital yesterday reporting 1,979 new coronavirus cases- the highest since January and up by more than 600 cases, compared with the same day last week, concerns are also mounting over the Olympics becoming a “super-spreader” event. Already 87 Olympic-related personnel, including athletes, have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the US gymnastics team to relocate to a hotel.
However, WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom, urged the world not to judge the Olympics by the tally of COVID-19 cases that arise because eliminating risk is impossible.
Japan “giving courage to the whole world”
“There is no zero risks in life,” said Tedros, who began his keynote speech minutes after the first softball game began in Fukushima, and added that Japan was “giving courage to the whole world.” “The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it,” Tedros said. “It is in our hands.”
Birhanu Balew (5000m)
Alemu Bekele (Marathon)
Eunice Chebichii Chumba (Marathon)
Tejitu Daba (Marathon)
Shumi Dechasa (Marathon)
El Hassan Elabbasi (Marathon)
Dawit Fikadu (5,000m)
Kalkidan Gezahegne (10,000m)
Aminat Jamal (400m Hurdles)
John Koech (3,000m steeplechase)
Abdelrahman Mahmoud (shot put)
Sadik Mikho (1500m)
Winfred Yavi (3000 steeplechase)
Ahmed Al Maqabi
Hasan Al Samaheeji
Husain Al Sayyad
Essa Ahmed Ali Yusuf Abdulla
Noor Yusuf Abdulla
Bahrain, an emerging powerhouse in the world sporting arena, is represented in the Olympic Games by 32 athletes. Bahrainis are participating in five sporting events, including handball, athletics, swimming, shooting and boxing. Athletics events are to start from the 30th of this month and continue until the 8th of August.
Handball medal events will begin on the 7th of next month, swimming medal events this Sunday, shooting medal events on Saturday and Boxing on the 31st of this month. This year’s event for Bahrain is also its 10th consecutive appearance at the Summer Olympics.
Bahrain had never competed in the winter games. Since making its debut in Los Angeles in the 1984 games, Bahrain has won three Olympic medals.
Two of the medals came at Rio 2016 after Ruth Jebet won gold in the women’s 3,000-metre steeplechase, and Eunice Kirwa claimed silver in the women’s marathon. Bahrain first podium finish was through Maryam Yusuf Jamal in the 2012 London Summer Olympics when she claimed a bronze in the women’s 1500 meter run.
Later, when the IOC disqualified the gold and silver medallists Aslı ˙akır Alptekin and Gamze Bulut, Jamal advanced to take the gold. Bahrain also has a long list of flag bearers at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, starting with Youssef Mubarak in the 1984 games. Last time, when Bahrain participated in the games, Farhan Saleh carried the Kingdom’s flag.
Currently, the head of Bahrain’s mission at the Tokyo Olympics, Shaikh Isa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the Bahrain Olympic Committee Vice-President, is at the Japanese Capital ahead of the start of the games. Unlike any other, this year’s event is ‘special’ for it is taking place in the face of coronavirus pandemic - “an obstacle far beyond anything” humanity has ever faced.
North Korea is the first and only member nation to drop out, citing pandemic, from the games, where over 205 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe are participating. Greece, Australia, France, and UK are the only countries to be represented at every Olympic Games since their inception in 1896.