The UAE is home to an ever-growing table of sporting victories. Of the many talented athletes making their country proud, we take a look at three names to watch
Earlier this year, Dubai played host to the Peace and Sport Forum, with a view to promoting and inspiring new ways to accomplish peace in the Middle East and beyond. International sports stars descended on the city to watch and take part in a number of events, but the UAE doesn’t have to look very far to find its own sporting talent. We’re home to a huge number of impressive sports stars in a range of fields. The first to ever clinch a gold medal in the Olympics for his country was Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hasher Al Maktoum, who shot his way to a win in the doubletrap shotgun event (where competitors shoot at two targets) at Athens in 2004. Earlier this year, he told reporters he hopes the UAE will one day host the prestigious sporting event – a bid that a poll by YouGov found an impressive 75 percent of UAE residents would support.
Emirati footballer Ismail Matar is another figure of national pride. A forward for Al Wahda and the UAE national team, Matar led the UAE to its first ever trophy in the 2007 Gulf Cup of Nations. He was celebrated once again earlier this year following the UAE’s Gulf Cup win over Iraq in the January final. He is viewed by many as one of the most accomplished Emirati players, and has previously said he hopes to see the UAE team to the 2018 World Cup.
Meanwhile, the UAE’s second paralympic gold medallist, Abdullah Al Aryani, has represented his country both before and after the car accident that left him paralysed from the waist down. He took part in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and last year he also triumphed in the mixed R6-50m rifle prone event which was held at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. He later told reporters after finally accepting his condition, his gold in London was just the start of his quest, and now as a result he has said that he has, ‘nothing but Rio de Janeiro on my mind’.