Iraqi athletes strive to make their mark at Hangzhou Asian Games
Iraqi judokas train in preparations for the Hangzhou Asian Games at the Baghdad Sports Centeron Sept. 14, 2023. (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)
Iraq's delegation is not content with merely participating, but will strive for medals at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
BAGHDAD, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Haitham Abdul Hamid, Secretary-General of Iraq's Olympic Committee, told Xinhua that the Iraqi delegation's ambition at the Hangzhou Asian Games is not just participation, but also to make a breakthrough and achieve medals.
32 athletes will represent Iraq in 13 sports at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Abdul Hamid said the Iraqi Olympic Committee was keen to ensure effective participation in the tournament and facilitate all procedures for athletes to help them achieve honors, including hiring overseas coaches to train Iraqi athletes and establishing training camps.
With great enthusiasm, Iraqi sports officials and athletes say they are eagerly awaiting the chance to surprise in the Asian Games.
"China used to surprise us in every tournament it organized with its wonderful management and advanced organization that reflects the spirit of creativity and innovation. I have witnessed this while attending previous events," Abdul Hamid said.
"The Chinese are pioneers in this field. In every tournament, they have an imprint, and in this tournament, there must be an influential imprint in the preparation and organization process," he added.
Abdul Hamid acknowledged that the competition is difficult, saying, "When you compete with China, Japan, the RepublicofKorea, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, these countries enjoy high levels of performance, but we hope to achieve advanced positions."
"We have hope that in some events we will obtain medals," he added.
Samir al-Musawi, head of the Iraqi delegation to Hangzhou, said that Iraq expects some medals or advanced positions, especially in judo, weightlifting, rowing, athletics and karate.
Asked about his expectations for the Hangzhou Asian Games, al-Musawi expressed his confidence that it will be one of the best tournaments in the world. Remembering the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he said, "I believe that what is prepared for the Hangzhou Asian Games will be more than we expect."
Iraqi judokas in action. (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)
Ahmed Jasim, supervisor of Iraq's national judo team, said he was looking forward to one of his team members winning a medal.
"We have hope with international judoka Sajjad Ghanem Sehen in the 81kg category, who won a bronze medal in the Kuwait City Asian Open several months ago," Jasim said while watching the team's training at the Baghdad Sports Center.
With full confidence, judoka Hussein Ali Hussein said the team is ready for the tournament and hopes to achieve something.
"The next stage is the stage of achievements, and we will be up to the responsibility and get a medal in the Asian Games and an honorable participation for Iraq through judo," Hussein said.
He insisted that the goal of Iraqi athletes is to convey a message to the world that "Iraq has recovered and is capable of being at the forefront at any time."
Recalling his previous participation in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, Hussein said, "The Chinese dazzled us last time and they will dazzle us next time."