Third Female Qatari Athlete To Compete At 2012 London Games

Teenage shooter Bahia Al-Hamad on Sunday became the third Qatari woman to qualify for the Olympics, the first time the conservative Gulf state has sent female competitors to the Games.

The 19-year-old Al-Hamad claimed her place in the Air Rifle 10 meters event after an agreement between the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

With a number of recent positive performances at international sporting events, Al-Hamad will now be able to take up one of the places at the Games to fulfill the competition quota.

In March, Al-Hamad competed at the 10th Arab Championships and won a silver medal.

Al-Hamad will now join fellow Qatari female competitors, swimmer Nada Mohammed Wafa Arakji and Noor Al-Malki, a 100 and 200 meter sprinter, at London 2012 this summer.

“We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to secure another place for one of our young female athletes at London 2012. We are grateful to the IOC for all their support in helping make this happen,” said QOC General Secretary Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. “Athletes like Bahia, Nada and Noor will also provide inspiration to the next generation of female Qatari sportspeople who aspire to become Olympians.”

Qatar’s announcement came just days after Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia insisted that they would not sanction women competitors in an official capacity in London despite mounting international pressure.

Qatar, bidding to host the 2020 Olympics, is sending its first women’s team, AFP reported

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