- Special Pages
DOHA: Nasser Al Attiyah’s Olympic bronze medal has taken Qatar by storm. Citizens and expatriates came together to celebrate the country’s first Olympic medal in 12 years.
The fact that Qatar is the only GCC country to seize a medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games so far has added to the significance of the win. Many people who were fasting were glued to their TV screens at 4pm in Qatar yesterday, following Al Attiyah, because they had complete confidence in him.
Al Attiyah, who is hailed as a champion rally driver worldwide, especially since his 2011 off-road Dakar Rally victory, has long held the status of a sports hero in Qatar.
The win in London led many to praise the local hero’s long standing commitment to sports.
“Al Attiyah competed in 5 Olympics, reached 3 finals and today he finally won his first (Olympic) medal! Perseverance!” said a tweet.
Expatriates reacted alike. “He looked nervous, but he clearly had the skill. Shooting is one of Gulf’s specialties, and their tradition is represented by the medal. I actually watched the event, it was great to see support for him in the stands. I was hoping he would win,” said another tweet. Social networking sites were particularly abuzz with felicitations for the 41-year-old yesterday.
“Al Attiyah is such a fine athlete. (He) won the Dakar rally race two years ago, decent in horse riding, and got a skeet bronze medal just now!” said a Tweeter.
Qatar, which is at times tagged as the ‘tiny’ Gulf state by foreign newspapers, had taken a 12-member Olympic squad to London.
“It’s actually good news, especially because Qatar’s participation has not been large in Olympics. Of course the country’s population is not so high as others, so it’s a great achievement. I’m sure this is a beginning of their victories”, said Ansley Jackson, a resident.
Another expatriate from Philippines said: “I am happy for the Qataris, I think that they deserve it.” Many look at this victory as a source of inspiration for Arab youth. “This will further boost the morale of rest of the Qatari athletes and encourage other youngsters to participate in sports in the days to come,” added an Indian.
Mohammad, an Eritrean national working at the American base, said: “I just heard the news from one of my friends and I am feeling great for Qatar. At the same time I am expecting more good news from the other athletes representing Qatar.”