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Mutaz Barshim

Qatar Olympic Committee

Mutaz Barshim

Qatari high-jump hero Mutaz Barshim has won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics early this morning, Doha time – Qatar’s first ever.

After competing neck-and-neck with Canadian Derek Drouin during several jumps, the 25-year-old Qatari lost the gold after failing to clear 2.38m three times.

Though disappointed, Barshim seemed cheered to know he’d still be guaranteed a medal after jumping 2.36m.

Barshim previously took bronze in the London Olympics four years ago by jumping 2.29m, and gold at the 2014 World Indoor Championships.

This year, Drouin took home the gold, and Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine got the bronze for jumping 2.33m.

Sweet silver

This is Qatar’s first silver medal Olympic victory.

The country has only won four bronze medals since it began participating in the Olympics.

The win will likely feel particularly sweet for the country as Barshim is a “homegrown” Qatari.

This year, some critics have accused Qatar of attempting to “buy” medals because 23 of its 38 Olympic athletes were recruited from other countries.

While legal, some argue this goes against the spirit of the games.

Barshim’s win is also the first Qatar has claimed since the Rio Olympics began. Elsewhere, the nation’s handball team will compete in the quarter-finals tonight against Germany.


Success for Qatar’s high jump and equestrian hopefuls

Qatar’s hopes for an Olympic medal came a step closer as Mutaz Barshim qualified for Tuesday’s high jump final after jumping 2.29m earlier this morning.

The national equestrian team also made it through to the next round of individual and team show jumping on Tuesday after a successful first round of qualifiers yesterday (Aug. 14).

Athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim

Qatar Olympic Team / Twitter

Athlete Mutaz Barshim

Qatari high-jump champion Mutaz Barshim will make his Rio debut today, raising hopes that the country will finally win a medal during this year’s Olympics.

Barshim, 25 previously took bronze in the London Olympics four years ago, and gold at the 2014 World Indoor Championships.

The high jump qualifying rounds start at 7.30pm tonight Rio time (1:30am Qatar time), according to the online schedule.

Ahead of his inaugural Olympics jump, Barshim called for support in an Instagram post.

Also participating today will be Qatar’s equestrian team, which competes in the individual and team showjumping qualifying rounds from 4pm Qatar time.

The team, which includes Bassem Mohammed, Hamad Al-Attiyah, Ali Al-Rumaihi and Qatar’s flagbearer Sheikh Ali Al Thani, is the nation’s first to qualify for show jumping at the Olympics after a win in Abu Dhabi last year.

Medal hopes

The athletes are hopeful of breaking Qatar’s disappointing run so far, as the Olympics enter their ninth day.

The country has yet to take home any awards, despite fielding its largest team yet of 38 delegates – three times the size of the London contingent.

One of Qatar’s stars Nasser Al-Attiyah, who won the country’s second bronze in the 2012 London games, struggled during this year’s skeet shooting event.

He placed in 31st place out of 32 competitors in Rio yesterday.

Also yesterday, the men’s handball team narrowly lost to Denmark 26-25 in the qualifiers.

However, it has one more chance tomorrow when it takes on Argentina.

Meanwhile, runner Abdalelah Haroun made it through to the 400m semi-finals after finishing second in his heat with a time of 45.76 seconds.

However, he came in seventh overall in the semis earlier today, with a slightly slower time of 46.66.

And in weightlifting, Fares Ibrahim placed eight in the men’s 85kg category yesterday after lifting 158kg in snatch and 203kg in clean and jerk, giving him a total of 361kg, QNA said.

Iran’s Kianoush Rostami took gold at the event after lifting a total of 396kg, while the silver went to China’s Tian Tao, who lifted 395kg.

Squash champion

On the other side of the world, Qatar saw some sporting success.

This week, the nation’s Abdulla al Tamimi was named 2016 Australian Squash Open champion after beating his New Zealand rival.

Abdulla Al Tamimi wins Australian squash open

Qatar Olympic Team/Twitter

Abdulla Al Tamimi wins Australian squash open

Al Tamimi, 21, initially lost the first game of the final 6-11 against Campbell Grayson at Melbourne’s Sports and Aquatic Center this weekend

However, he recovered to win three games in a row 11-9, 11-7 and 11-5 to clinch the match and take the title.

Al Tamimi’s road to victory began earlier in the tournament with wins over Korea’s Daehoon Jeong and Mohd Syafiq Kamal from Malaysia. He later beat Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu and Joel Makin to make it to the final.

Seeded 46th in the world, this is the third world tour win for Al Tamimi, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) said.

Good luck Team Qatar! Thoughts?