Lara bint Yousuf al Yafei will become the first Omani girl swimmer to take part in Youth Olympic Games (YOG) when she competes in the 50m freestyle event in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The opening ceremony of the third summer YOG will be held on October 6 and the Games will conclude on October 18.
Oman Olympic Committee (OOC) board member Saada al Ismaili will head the sultanate’s delegation, which will leave for Buenos Aires on Thursday morning.Besides Lara, Oman has four other athletes taking part at the YOG. Ahmed al Balushi is the chef-de-mission and the five athletes are accompanied by three coaches.
Oman will be competing in athletics, swimming and sailing events at the Games.
While Mohammed al Suleimani has qualified in the 2,000m steeplechase discipline, Ali al Balushi qualified for the 200m sprint. The duo will be accompanied by coach Laid Toutache.
The 16 year old Ali had won a bronze in the 200m race at the Morocco 2018 Gymnasiade School Summer Games in May. He ran a personal best time of 21.72s.
Besides Lara, the other swimmer is Shihab bin Ala’a alDeen, who will race in 50m breaststroke event. They would be accompanied by coach Kamal al Khoumeri.
Mohammed al Balushi will be the lone participant in sailing when he competes in windsurfing Techno 293+ class. Sultan al Balushi is the accompanying coach and the duo had left for Buenos Aires on September 26.
Speaking ahead of her departure, Saada, who is a member of the OOC board said, “I hope the athletes give their best. It is a very big stage and I hope the five athletes can better their personal best times in their respective events.”
A total of 206 countries are expected to take part at the Games with the participation of nearly 4,000 athletes in 32 disciplines.
Oman has been a regular at the YOG since the inaugural edition in 2010 in Singapore when rider Sultan al Tooqi brought laurels for the sultanate with a silver medal in the equestrian team jumping event. Shnoona al Habsi had also participated in the 100m girls’ event in Singapore.
At the second YOG, held in Nanjing, China, in 2014, Oman was represented by Mazoon al Alawi in the girls’ 100m while the pair of Samie al Hammadi and Ahid al Shahi took part in beach volleyball as a wild card entry.