Emotional Qatari shooter Bahya Mansour al-Hamad spoke of her pride Saturday after making history as the first Qatari woman to perform at the Olympic Games despite her failure to get to the final.
Al-Hamad, who carried Qatar’s flag during Friday’s opening ceremony, finished in 17th position after the qualifying round for the 10m air rifle, missing out on the final.
But the 20-year-old, who performed at the Royal Artillery Barracks in a black headscarf, said: “I’m very happy. I’m so excited to be here. It’s my dream come true. I’m so proud of this.”
When asked whether she believed she would be competing in the Olympics when she took up the sport three years ago, she said “no, definitely not.”
The shooter finished sixth in the women’s 10m air rifle in the Asian championships in Doha earlier this year. After just missing out on qualifying for London 2012, she earned a wildcard entry into her first Olympic Games.
The groundbreaking decision by Qatar to field female athletes for the first time in their history at the Games came after a series of talks with the International Olympic Committee.
Despite the move earlier this year Qatari capital Doha still failed to make the shortlist for the race to host the 2020 Summer Games — the second successive time they failed to make it out of the long list.