RIO DE JANEIRO: The Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) celebrated one of the proudest moments in its history as high jumper Mutaz Barshim was welcomed to Bayt Qatar in Rio as the nation’s first ever Olympic silver medalist.
QOC President HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani and Secretary General Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari joined the ceremony, which was held in the souq area of the QOC’s hospitality house.
Brazilian as well as Qatari crowd turned up in large numbers waving the white and maroon flag and joining the celebrations which was held in the true spirit of Olympism.
Speaking at the stage, Mutaz said, “When I was young I used to watch my father and other great athletes and dream of standing on the podium at the Olympic Games. Today, at the age of 25, I celebrate winning my second Olympic medal and for me that is such a blessing. It was a great competition and having HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani in the crowd supporting me every step of the way was extra motivation. Not only that, but the first call I received after the competition was from the Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani himself.
“None of this would have been possible without the help of my parents, everyone in my country and God. I felt like the whole nation was behind me, supporting me every step of the way. This medal is for each and every one of you! I’m incredibly happy. Thank you!”
Immediately after the ceremony, the star high jumper was presented with a flag signed by the entire Qatari delegation and later he attended a cocktail reception at Bayt Qatar’s illustrious Athletes Lounge along with HE Sheikh Joaan as well as other members of the Qatari delegation.