Five Saudi national teams have qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the Arab News reported today. The Games will take place August 8-24.
The teams are equestrian, athletics, shooting, swimming and weightlifting. In addition, both athletic and weightlifting teams with special needs also qualified to compete in the Paralympic Games September 7-17.
Prince Abdullah bin Miteb will lead the seven-man equestrian team that qualified for the show jumping event. Joining the prince are veteran riders Kamal Bahamdan, Ramzi Al-Duhami, Prince Faisal Al-Shallan, Adnan Al-Baytouni, Fahad Al-Eid and Abdullah Al-Sharbatly.
The weightlifting team has two spots for the Olympic team and the final lineup will be decided at a later date. Also qualifying were Bader Al-Muhana for swimming and Saeed Al-Mutairi for shooting.
Prince Nawaf bin Faisal, deputy-president of the General Presidency of Youth Welfare will head the Saudi delegation to the Games. Saudi Olympic Committee Secretary-General Rashed Al-Heraiwel said that sub-committees have been created to supervise the preparations for the Olympics. In addition, the athletes are being provided with qualified coaches to prepare them for the competition.
Saudi Arabia made its Olympic debut at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, Germany. At the 2000 Sydney Games, 32-year old hurdler Hadi Souan won a silver medal in the 400-meter, and veteran equestrian Khalid Al-Eid took the bronze.