Rio Olympics: 10 GCC potential medal winners

You may not know their names today, but you will when they create history sooner or later.

Meryl D'Souza August 8, 2016

The 2016 Rio Olympics are already underway and whether it’s the pool, sand, track or road, you can rest assured that history will be made.

With more than 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries competing, it's hard to know who to look out for. But here are 10 from the GCC you should keep your eyes peeled for.

Mutaz Essa Barshim
Country: Qatar
Competition: High jump
The Qatari who picked up the bronze medal in a three-way tie at the 2012 London Olympics will be looking for gold this time around. He might even get it after almost breaking Javier Sotomayor’s high jump record of 2.45 metres with a 2.43 in Brussels in 2014. To put that height into perspective, Barshim could dunk his whole body. 


Femi Ogunode

Country: Qatar
Competition: Track and field
Tired of the politics and discrimination, Femi Ogunode swapped Nigeria for Qatar in 2009. Turns out Nigeria’s loss is Qatar’s gain as the 25-year-old now holds the title for fastest man in Asia.


Musaeb Abdulrahman Balla
Country: Qatar
Competition: Track and field
The largest Olympic team from the GCC (38 members) will also feature Musaab Abdulrahman Balla. After a successful 2015 and early 2016 campaign, the reigning 800 meters Asian indoor and outdoor champion has his sights set on a podium finish at Rio.


Ofonime Edidiong Odiong
Country: Bahrain
Competition: Track and field
With 35 members, Bahrain has the second largest Olympic team from the GCC. At the very top of their list of athletes to watch is the girl who gave Bahrain their first-ever gold medal at the 2016 IAAF World U-20 championship in Poland.


Tigist Getnet
Country: Bahrain
Competition: Track and field
It’s hard to ignore the second best 3,000 meter steeplechase female athlete of the year at the most prestigious sporting event of the year.


Ayesha Al Balooshi
Country: UAE
Competition: Weightlifting
For the last couple of years, the UAE has relied on Amna Al Haddad in the weightlifting category, but with the 26-year-old out with injury, the onus of taking up UAE’s lone qualifying spot in the women’s weightlifting competition falls on Ayesha Al Balooshi. The 24-year-old who has won a slew of medals at regional and Arab championships is hoping for a top 10 finish in the women’s 58kg division.


Ivan Remarenco
Country: UAE
Competition: Judo
Although he first represented his birthplace, Moldova, at the 2012 London Olympics, the 28-year-old who won a bronze medal in UAE colours at the 2014 World Championships in Russia, will represent UAE in Rio.


Nada Al Bedwawi
Country: UAE
Competition: Swimming
Set to make history as the first female swimmer to represent the UAE at the Olympics, the 18-year-old will be competing in the 50m freestyle heat as a wildcard. If nothing else, we’re hoping Bedwawi returns a better swimmer from her experience at Rio.


Sarah Attar
Country: Saudi Arabia
Competition: Track and field
Four years after she created history as one of the first two women to represent Saudi Arabia in an Olympics, the 23-year-old will head to Rio for the Olympic Marathon. She finished a distant last in the opening round 800m heats at the London Olympics, but has used that to spur herself on and try again.


Barakat Al-Harthi
Country: Oman
Competition: Track and field
After securing his place at the Rio Olympics with a win at the Military World Games in South Korea in October last year, Barakat Al-Harthi broke his own national record with a personal best of 100 meters in 10.05 seconds in June this year. Not letting the success go to his head, the 28-year-old has his sights on a semi-final berth at the ongoing tournament.