It was a disappointing week for the Sultanate at the 2016 Rio Olympics, as Oman’s hopes of winning a maiden medal came crashing down after rifle shooter Hamed Said al Khatri bowed out of the qualifying rounds last weekend.
Earlier, Barakat al Harthi, Oman’s fastest runner, also missed his chance of running in the 100-metre semi-final by a whisker. Barakat clocked an impressive 10.22 seconds in his heat of the blue-ribbon event. However, he fell short to Yohan Blake of Jamaica (10.11 seconds) and Jak Ali Harvey (10.14 seconds) of Turkey after placing third in the sixth heat of qualifying.
This is the Barakat’s second appearance at the Olympics. Barakat would have qualified for the semi-finals in Rio had he beaten, or even equalled, his own record of 10.17 seconds at the London Olympics in 2012.
Encouragingly, his time placed him 26th overall in a field boasting 69 other sprinters from around the world.
A disappointed Barakat released a video message in Arabic on Twitter, in which he said: “I thank all my supporters and the coming days will be better. I thank all those who stood behind me; [they were] people who pushed me to perform.”
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Mazoon Khalfan Saleh al Alawi also failed to qualify for a semi-final berth after her 100m heat last Friday (August 12). Mazoon finished her first round of heats with a time of 12.43 seconds, just 0.13 seconds slower than her best time in the preliminaries.
Jamaica’s Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce topped the heats with a time of 10.96 seconds. Mazoon, who ran in the seventh heat, placed third behind Rosangela Santos of Brazil (11.25 seconds) and Semoy Hackett of Trinidad and Tobago (11.35 seconds).
Omani shooter Wadha al Balushi also failed to qualify for the final after she finished with 379 points – just five points behind the nearest qualifier – and placed 26th out of a total of 44 shooters.
Hamed, the final Omani athlete to compete at the Games, finished 43rd in a line-up of 44 qualifiers on Sunday (August 14).