The Olympians

This special edition marks an important month for Kuwait. February. A month, towards the end of which we’ll be celebrating and remembering our days of Independence and Liberation. What better way to do so, in this new ‘Trumpian World’, than by returning the nation to the people. For this edition, we look at the strength of the nation through the strength of its people. In this case, Olympic athletes.

For two months in 2016, Rio de Janeiro was at the epicentre of world sport. Through both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the very pinnacle of global athletic prowess was on display. That Kuwait was robbed of the opportunity to send a team was more than frustrating. But that Kuwait was represented by nine Olympians – under the banner of the International Olympic Committee – and six Paralympians speaks volumes for the dedication of these citizens in putting sport above politics.

Sport is one of the few truly global arenas that transcend national boundaries. Their rules and regulations offer a literal ‘level playing field’ to competition around the world. Athletes compete against themselves – striving to improve personal bests. They compete against their peers. They compete for themselves. They compete for their country. For the fifteen sportsmen and sportswoman who travelled to Brazil last year, this latter reason burned as the strongest.

Despite the often ‘hard’ physical nature of sports, the Olympics is one of the largest events for a nation to demonstrate their soft power capabilities’ where winning an event, or holding an Olympic gold demonstrates the ‘character’ of a country. Soft power can define the ‘attractiveness’ of a country, where other countries will seek to follow its lead because they admire its values and seek to emulate its examples.

The success – of an individual or a team – within the sporting arena shines a new light on the image of a country. It questions presumptions, and can dispel prejudices. Their entry to a competition spells out a nation’s willingness to engage with the world. Its success highlights a nation’s commitment to achieving success. Our athletes are our ambassadors on the world stage. They’ve all achieved success via different routes. Each with their own conduits of support from within Kuwait, and from outside. Every one of our Olympians and Paralympians has acquitted themselves admirably, and reflected pride in their country, as they’ve travelled.

Behind every athlete, there lays an often very private and always very personal story of dedication and sacrifice. No one becomes an Olympian by accident. None of these athletes arrived in Rio without a long history of training and a strong palmarès of competing and qualification tournaments.

Their focus on the prize of representing their country in 2016 does them credit, and bestows even greater credit on the nation of Kuwait. For their dedication to their sport, and to the nation and people of Kuwait, we dedicate this special edition to our Olympians.

Kuwait’s 2016 Olympians

Fehaid Al-Deehani – competed in Shooting / Men’s Double-trap, and won Gold

Abdullah Al-Rashidi – competed in Shooting / Men’s skeet, and won Bronze

Abdulaziz Al-Shatti – competed in Fencing / Men’s épée

Ahmad Al-Afasi – competed in Shooting / Men’s Double-trap

Abdulrahman Al-Faihan – competed in Shooting / Men’s trap

Khaled Al-Mudhaf – competed in Shooting / Men’s trap

Saud Habib – competed in Shooting / Men’s skeet

Abbas Qali – competed in Swimming / Men’s 100m butterfly

Faye Sultan – competed in Swimming / Women’s 50m freestyle

 

Kuwait’s 2016 Paralympians

Ahmad Almutairi – competed in Athletics / Men’s 100 m T33, and won Gold

Naser Saleh – competed in Athletics / Men’s 100 m T33

Hamad Aladwani – competed in Athletics / three events

Mohammad Nasser – competed in Field / Shot Put F32

Abdullah Alsaif – competed in Field / Shot Put F40

Atef Aldousari – competed in Shooting

Simon Balsom