NANJING: Swimmer Waleed Daloul created a new Qatar record during his 100m breaststroke heat as the competition began at the second Youth Olympic Games in right earnest yesterday.
At the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Natatorium, though he could not go to the next stage, the 16-year-old Daloul clocked 1:07.42 to better his own previous national record.
The previous benchmark by Daloul was set at 1:08.98.
Daloul had a fine split time of 31.37 for the first 50 metres but could not sustain the pace and bowed out of the competition in Nanjing.
Four days later on August 21, he will contest in the 50m breaststroke.
In the event, he is expected to do better and make it to the semi-finals.
Daloul sounded happy with the new national record and commented:
“The competition was tough here and I was swimming against the best swimmers in the world,” said the Qatari athlete. “I tried best and am glad to have set up a new national mark.
“I am competing in two events and my other event is 50m breast, in which I am hopeful to get a much better finish,” added the national swimmer..
His coach Yuri Vlasov was satisfied with the performance of his trainee.
“I’m satisfied with the display by Daloul. It would have been nice if he had got a lower time and qualified for the semis,” he commented.
“He had an improved performance and we’re happy that he managed to get a new national record here.
“We had a good camp in Malaysia and I feel the training sessions there helped him to raise his performance level. As you know, the best of the world are here and it is not easy at all to beat them.
“Daloul is also racing in the 50m breast. For the next three days, he’ll train and focus on getting a good result,” added the coach.
As many as 37 swimmers contested in the 100m breaststrokecategory.
The top 16 were led into the semi-finals by Venezuelan Carlos Claverie, who was the only one to clock a sub 1:02 time.
Meanwhile, Abdulrahman Al Najjar battled bravely but went down to Switzerland’s Elia Schmid in straight sets.
In his opening Group H match at the Wutaishan Gymnasium, Najjar was involved in tough fight in all the three sets, especially the opening two where the Qatari made his opponents run for his money.
However, he could not pull off the points at the crucial stages and lost by 10-12, 11-13, 8-11 in 29 minutes.
He now faces an uphill task of getting into the second stage as in other match of the same group, Hong Kong’s Hung Ka Tak shocked Croatia’s Tomislav Pucar, the eighth seed, in five thrilling sets.
Hung had to rally hard twice to clear the deficit before wrapping up a fine 5-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8 victory in 32 minutes and brightening his chances of topping the pool.
In the decider, Hung led 5-2 but lost six points in a row before staging a brilliant recovery to draw levels at 8 and going on to win the match in style.
Najjar said he was disappointed to suffer the defeat, though he was on the edge of claiming the second set.
“I’m upset with my game. I could have won the second set and If I had done that, the story might have been different.
“I’ve two more matches to play. Both the rivals in those matches are very strong,” he said before hoping to bounce back strongly.
“I’ll try to come back and then see what happens in the upcoming matches,” added Najjar.
His coach Zlatko Novakovic also felt that the second set could have seen Najjar regain his elements.
“He was playing well, especially in the first two sets. The loss of the second set was a bit too harsh. Najjar was on the top and then he lost it.
“Najjar has a good potential and bright future,” he said.
“I’m sure he would try to improve and play better in his other group matches,” added Novakovic. Equestrian rider and Qatar’s flag-bearer Hamad Al Qadi has been included in the Asian team for the jumping international team contest.
The Qatari rider is taking part in the individual event as well.
Qadi after being named as the flag-bearer said he would give his best to win medal for his country.
He said he got a lot of motivation after getting the honour to lead the national contingent.
According to information from the Qatar camp, the Asian team also has a rider from China, Japan, Kyrgyzstan and Saudi Arabia.
The first round of the team event is scheduled on August 19 at 3.30 pm local time.
Next day, the second round will be run through.