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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Qatari athlete becomes first national to reach IAAF World Athletics finals

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Musaab Balla
Musaab Balla

Middle-distance runner Musaab Abdulrahman Balla will make sporting history later today when he becomes the first Qatari athlete to compete in a final at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships.

Balla qualified for the final after coming in second in the second heat of the 800m semi-finals at the National Stadium in Beijing on Sunday with a time of 1 min, 47.93 seconds, just behind Kenya’s David Rudisha (1:47.70).

He caused a stir when he ran past Botswana’s Nijel Amos, who took silver in the 2012 London Olympics, to get through to the final.

The competition

Sudanese-born Balla, 26, will be up against tough competition when he runs in today’s final, which will start at 3.55pm Qatar time (8.55pm in Beijing) and will be in the same venue, nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, which hosted the 2008 Olympic games.

Musaab Balla
Musaab Balla

In 2012, Rudisha took gold in the 800m race, setting a world record with his time of 1:40.91, while Balla’s personal best for the same distance was 1:43.82 in Barcelona last month.

At the time, Lord Sebastian Coe said Rudisha was “the most impressive track and field athlete at these Games,” BBC Sport reported.

Balla will race in lane 9 today, wearing bib number 825. His competitors are:

  • Alfred Kipketer, Kenya (lane 2);
  • Nader Belhanbel, Morocco (lane 3);
  • Amel Tuka, Bosnia-Herzegovina (lane 4);
  • David Lekuta Rudisha, Kenya (lane 5);
  • Adam Kszczot, Poland (lane 6);
  • Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, Kenya (land 7); and
  • Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, France (lane 8).

Balla’s previous achievements include taking gold in the 800m at the 2013 Asian Championships in India, while he came in third place for the same distance at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.

While he scooped gold at the Asian Championships in Wuhan, China earlier this year, his fifth appearance at the Doha Diamond league in May this year was less successful as Balla came in eighth place, Doha Stadium Plus reported.

2019 Championships

Qatar is keen to prove its emerging sporting mettle to the world, after securing hosting rights to the 2019 World Championships in athletics late last year.

Qatar's bid team celebrates after the country is announced as the host of the 2019 World Championships in Athletics.
Qatar’s bid team celebrates after the country is announced as the host of the 2019 World Championships in Athletics.

One of the world’s largest international sporting events, it runs for just over a week and features event like sprints, a marathon, high jump and javelin throwing, among others.

When it comes to Qatar after London in 2017, the actual events will be centered around Khalifa International Stadium, which is currently being renovated, while the IAAF Congress will be held at the Qatar National Convention Center.

In addition to Balla, other homegrown sporting stars include Olympic bronze medalist and world silver medalist highjumper Mutaz Barshim and hurdler Mariam Farid.

Sprinter Femi Ogunode, who has won gold four times in Asian games, is another of Qatar’s up-and-coming athletes.

Thoughts?

47 COMMENTS

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Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

You are saying that he is Sudanese-born but his sister whose tweet you quoted says she is half Somali half British!

Katie
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

I don’t think she meant it literally when she called him brother.

Katie
http://www.onlyindoha.com

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Katie

I don’t think you should take anything she says on her Twitter feed literally, especially not the Aug 14 comment about Spaniards who “all dress like…”

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Katie

The way she phrased it sounds like a real brother.

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

I didn’t realise Qatari nationality had been opened up to foreigners. I’ll apply tomorrow.

Katie
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Only if you’re a world-class athlete (or have made some kind of other major contribution to society – I know a Pakistani-born doctor who got the passport)

Katie
http://www.onlyindoha.com

AntiDNBS
AntiDNBS
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Actually, there is a committee. You apply, they decide.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  AntiDNBS

I like your profile name. I look forward to your comments busting the BS on DN 😀

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

It is possible but very unlikely. Who wants to share their pie with anyone else? If they really cared about others they would be taking in their Arab/Muslim brothers from Palestine/Syria/Iraq/Yemen who are being murdered in their thousands but they know they are not welcome in the rich GCC so head for Europe.

When even Qatari women can’t get or is very difficult to get Qatari nationality for their kids, that tells you all you need to know.

AntiDNBS
AntiDNBS
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Qatari women children do get a lot of privileges in Qatar. They get free scholarships abroad and employment priority second to Qatari in many places to name a few.

Anonmauser
Anonmauser
5 years ago
Reply to  AntiDNBS

So, second tier. Right, thanks for confirming that.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonmauser

Lol, second tier. Almost equal!

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  AntiDNBS

I guess being 2nd class in the only country they know is better than being 3 or 4th class. They should be greatful that due to being born to a Qatari mother and not a Qatari father gets them that much. People wonder why the rest of the world think women in the gulf get a bad deal….

Mai
Mai
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Spaniards and Hispanics are not the same.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Mai

Bit early to be on the wine me thinks….

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Would you really want to though?

Peaches
Peaches
5 years ago

So what makes him a Qatari national if he was born in Sudan? Reminds me of the British-Somalian Mo Farah. I’ve heard Qatar will offer you a passport if you are deemed worthy/of use to them but you will have to give up your original passport and resign to living here. Also they apparently have different grades of nationals with A being the richest? On the plus side you will be able to borrow 2 million riyals from the bank and generate high debts which will later be paid off by charity 🙂 still not worth it though

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

Nope, the ‘nationals’ who get a document for the purposes of satisfying the sports body regulations get a second tier travel document. They don’t get the perks of being a ‘real’ Qatari (such as the 2 million riyal loan you mention). They retain this document for as long as they are of use for competitions etc, after which time it is revoked and they go elsewhere.

Peaches
Peaches
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

ooo I have learnt something today. Doesn’t sound like an amazing offer

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

Well if you are a professional athlete with limited opportunities in your birth country, why not?

There’s nothing weird about people leaving their country of birth to work abroad, like the rest of the expats here in Qatar. The main difference is that they get a passport (of sorts) and temporarily become Qataris. There’s no shortage of athletes who have become Qatari. Here’s a quick list I could find online:

Ahmad Hassan Abdullah, Daham Najim Bashir, Majed Saeed Sultan, Saif Saaeed Shaheen, Musa Amer Obaid, James Kwalia, Gamal Belal Salem, Mubarak Hassan Shami, Essa Ismail Rashed, Felix Kibore & Salem Amer Al-Badri and Nicholas Kemboi all left Kenya to become Qatari athletes.

Hamza Driouch & Mohamad Al-Garni left Morocco, while Khamis Abdullah Saifeldin, Abdelalelah Haroun left Sudan to become a Qataris.

And then there are Tosin Ogunode, Femi Ogunode and Samuel Francis who
left Nigeria along with Onèsphore Nkunzimana who left Burundi, not to mention Moustafa Ahmed Shebto who left Uganda.

Closer to home was Ashraf Amgad Elseify, who left Egypt to become a Qatari

Then there are the athletes like Gemechu Woyecha, who was born in Ethiopia and competed as a Qatari before exchanging that passport and becoming an Australian
competitor.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

And all this investment in athletes got Qatar what in return?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

As they say, if you have to ask, you probably already know the answer.

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  Peaches

LOL.

Article 2 of the Law No. 38 of 2005 on the acquisition of Qatari nationality 38 / 2005 makes him a Qatari national.

Where he was born has nothing to do with it, the system is not Jus soli (Latin: the law of the soil) and article 1 defines that most Qataris are so because of a modified Jus sanguinis (Latin: the law of the blood) is the principle by which a child acquires the nationality of his or her parents (father is Qatari as defined in article 1).

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago

Article 2 is quite clear – you have to be resident in Qatar for 25 years, which he hasn’t been. Despite your legal latin, all you needed to do was scroll down to Article 6 (although I have trouble believing that track and field athletes who spend their lives running in circles, jumping over things, and throwing stuff, have rendered great service to the country, or have skills that the country needs):

Notwithstanding the provisions of Articles 2 and 18 of this Law, by an Emiri decision Qatari nationality may be granted to those who have rendered great service to the country, or who have particular skills the country need, or students who excel by showing promising scientific ability. Based on the requirements of the public interest, Qatari nationality may be granted in such cases to the persons concerned, who may also retain their original nationality.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

“have the skills the country needs” well there you go all expats get in line and apply.

justa person
justa person
5 years ago

Alassiry almaadeed dman how many family names xD

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed
Reply to  justa person

A lot…. Al-Tamimi, Al-bin-Sabah … 🙂

A longer name would be “Osama bin Khalifa bin Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan bin Sabah bin Saif bin Ahmed (Alassiry) bin Saif bin Mohammed bin Rashid bin Ali bin Sultan bin Braid bin Saad bin Salim bin Amr bin Muadad (Almaadeed) bin Reyes bin Zakher of Bin Mohammed Bin Alawi Bin and Waheeb bin Qassim bin Musa bin Masoud bin Sanee bin Nahshl bin Shaddad bin Zuhair bin Shihab bin Rabia ibn Abi-soud bin Malik bin Hanadhalah bin Malik bin Zeid-manah Bin Tamim (Altamimi)”. I chose to stop at Tamim and not go further… 😉

justa person
justa person
5 years ago

ونعم اذا جي ليش ماتكلمي عربي ?

justa person
justa person
5 years ago

اكيد تتكلم اقطري ?

John Thomas (Africa)
John Thomas (Africa)
5 years ago

he looks like an African not a Arab

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

“Sprinter Femi Ogunode, who has won gold four times in Asian games, is another of Qatar’s up-and-coming athletes.”

Originally from Nigeria and a convicted drug cheat. He served a two year ban.

Is this the sort of person they want representing Qatar?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Ssshhhh…. don’t talk about his doping conviction.
Or Rashid Shafi Al-Dosari’s.
Or Musa Amer Obaid’s.
Or Abubaker Ali Kamal’s.
Or Hamza Driouch’s.

f00
f00
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doping_cases_in_athletics
Along with people from many countries you are very familiar with.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  f00

And those are just the people we know about. As we all recently saw when the IAAF doping database was leaked, the problem is widespread, and has so far gone un-investigated and athletes unpunished:

According to the experts, the database reveals:

A third of medals (146, including 55 golds) in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests. It is claimed none of these athletes have been stripped of their medals.

More than 800 athletes – one in seven of those named in the files – have recorded blood tests described by one of the experts as “highly suggestive of doping or at the very least abnormal”.

A top UK athlete is among seven Britons with suspicious blood scores.

British athletes – including Olympic champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill – have lost out in major events to competitors who were under suspicion.

Ten medals at London 2012 were won by athletes who have dubious test results.

In some finals, every athlete in the three medal positions had recorded a suspicious blood test.

Russia emerges as “the blood testing epicentre of the world” with more than 80% of the country’s medals won by suspicious athletes, while Kenya had 18 medals won by suspicious athletes.

Stars such as Britain’s Mo Farah and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt recorded no abnormal results.

Athletes are increasingly using blood transfusions and EPO micro-doses to boost the red cell count.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

It’s why I have little interest In Athletics these days, it’s not a level playing field and has not been for at least 40 years. (Same as cycling)

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

All countries nationalise promising sports stars but Qatar is taking it to a new level. Would be interesting to hear what Qataris think. Are they that into athletics they are happy the country is spending millions on these people, including some in some pretty minority sports.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The few I spoke to were all against it and very pissed off about it especially when a lot of money is spent on it. There was just one guy who told me it was fine as everyone else is doing it, even though on a much much lower scale.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

The problem I have is there is no long term benefit. Maybe they win a few medals and then retire. After retirement they are not much use to Qatar, maybe some will coach but not all make good coaches. The ROI is very poor, just short term vanity.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

To my understanding, officials here thinks this is needed to secure the organization of all types of sports tournaments. It would be difficult to convince international sports federations to grant you the right to organize an event when you do not have one single athlete practising the sport.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

ROI? Did you ever hear the story of Nader Sufyan Abbas? (his Bulgarian birth certificate says Andrey Ivanov, but that’s neither here nor there) The QOC paid $1,000,000 for him to come and compete for Qatar at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Only problem was he dropped out of competition shortly before the event, citing a viral infection. But he did finish a respectable 9th at the 2004 Olympics. Now that’s ROI.
Incidentally, I wonder if it’s any coincidence that 3 of the actual Bulgarian weightlifters (ie competing for their country of birth) ended up having their medals stripped from them after being failing drug tests? I’m sure Nader’s viral infection was exactly that.

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

It all stems from a particular way of interpreting the Olympic Charter. “The practice of sport is a human right,” it reads. “Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport in accordance with his or her needs.”

It probably wasn’t what the drafters had intended, but now the clause is in there, the Olympic movement can hardly complain about athletes shopping their skills around to whichever country is willing to pay most for them – even if this is sometimes sadly to the detriment of fostering homegrown talent. Why send an emerging sprinter to the Olympics when you can purchase a better one? Why train a homegrown steeplechase competitor who may or may not qualify when you an buy one who has?
If I was an aspiring athlete it would make me nervous about my chances.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Actually I have no problem with athletes shopping nationality, it’s an individual spot anyway even if some countries do bath in reflected glory. The problem I have is countries accepting convicted drug cheats into their bosom. Just too cynical for me.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

IN the U.S. there is a bit of that esp with the National Soccer team but the 3 or 4 guys who are so called “trading nationalities” all have american fathers. So at least there is a genetic link to the country of adoption.

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

The best was the Qatari national team soccer player from Brazil, first name… Christian. lol

guest
guest
5 years ago

He is qatari? Yes, but for how many time?

sicti
sicti
5 years ago

Yup, he surely looks Qatari…

Johnthomas
Johnthomas
5 years ago

He looks like he is from Africa not Arabia

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