Shooter Al Hamad becomes Qatar's first female Olympian

Shooter Bahia Al Hamad became the first Qatari woman to compete in an Olympics when she began her qualifying round in the 10 meter air rifle event at the London Games on Saturday.

The 20-year-old, dressed in a headscarf, showed no ill affects from last night's opening ceremony where she carried the flag of the tiny gulf nation.

Al Hamad calmly struck a nine with her first shot shortly after the 0715 GMT (0815 local time) start in front of a full house of a few hundred spectators in the indoor range in south east London.

She was one of 56 shooters aiming to claim a berth in the eight-woman final later on Saturday and have the honor of competing for the first gold medal of the London Games.

Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia and Brunei, were the only IOC countries to have never sent a female competitor to the Olympics but all have women participating in London.

Al Hamad, who received a wild card to take part, is not the only woman competing for Qatar in London. Sprinter Noor Al-Malki and swimmer Nada Arakji will represent the nation, who failed to make the cut in the bidding to host the 2020 Olympics but plan to try again for 2024.

-  Reuters


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