Posted on August 26, 2014
Idriss Yousef will have several things in his mind when he races in the men’s 800m final at the second Youth Olympic Games at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre on Monday. 
 
His race is scheduled at 7.55 pm (2.55 pm Qatar time). Besides the quality field that is against him, the Qatari runner will have to bear intense pressure of medal as well. With only the handball team and him left in the YOG, he will certainly try his best for a medal. But he has to be a bit tactical tomorrow and wait for the right moment to strike. In the two-lap race heat, he was a bit too aggressive in the beginning, which he has to be slightly careful tomorrow.  
 
All the runners in the final are strong and he needs to save some power in his leg for a strong kick in the end, if he has to break the duck for Qatar. Yousef had a light work-out in the morning today and fine-tuned himself. He is looking confident and fighting fit ahead of the race, which is likely to return better times than what the runners achieved in the heats earlier.
 
Idriss had posted his career best time of 1:50.77, beating his personal and season’s best of 1:51.85 easily. Five of the runners in his heat made it to the medal round.  Others to qualify for the A final are: Myles Marshall (US), Mohamed Elamrani (Morocco), Geofrey Balimumiti (Uganda), Ryan Patterson (Australia), Tom Elmer (Switzerland), Morka Bacha Mulata (Ethiopia) and Godfrey Chama (Zambia).
 
Besides Yousef, four others runners secured their personal best times during the heats to qualify for the final, which ensures a fast-paced race. Yousef has already proved that he is among the eight best young racers of the world. With a bit of smart running, he may well be standing on one of the steps of the podium on Monday. He said that he is feeling upbeat by his entry into the final and would try to secure even a better time in search of a good result. “I finished my preparations for the race today. I’m feeling to be good spirit and would try to do as best as I can in the race on Monday.”
 
Yousef also added, “I’ve got morale-boosting support from all quarters of the Qatari delegation in Nanjing, which has made me confident ahead of the race. It is going to be a tough race, for sure. I am well-prepared. I’m not scared of any runner. I have my own game plan and will try to use it. Inshallah, I’ll race well.” Nothing less than a clear round could have brightened the chances for a medal for Qatari rider Hamad al Qadi in the equestrian individual event in the second Youth Olympic Games.

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With nine riders tied at the top after the first round, the pressure had started to build at the Xinzhuang Equestrian Centre on Sunday when the second round got underway. All the riders before Qadi had already suffered the penalties and a couple of got eliminated. The atmosphere was more stifling for the young Qatari, who failed to clear the middle one in a triple combination and tipped the last hurdle as well. With overall 12 penalty points over the two days of competition, he finished in a 10th best four-rider group.
 
Female riders outsmarted the male counterparts, winning two of the three medals. Emily Frazer, riding Exilio, clinched the jump-off after four riders had a zero penalty today and were locked at the top. The silver medal was bagged by Argentine Martina Camp and Australian Jake Hunter edged El Salvador’s Sabrina Rivera Meza for the bronze medal in an exciting finale. If Qadi had managed a clear round today, he might have got a spot among the best five in the world. But penalty points and ‘lack of luck’ denied him that opportunity.
 
“First of all, I want Thank god that I was able to be a part of the Youth Olympic Games for Qatar. Today I had needed a lot of luck as there were a plenty of riders with a medal chance after the first round. “I had four penalty points on Saturday and the priority was to have no faults today. But after three rounds of team and individual events and many practice sessions, all the horses were sort of dead. Mine had more problems than others as I feel he was not fully ready for the competition.
 
“As I said, I had badly needed the luck but it was not to be. I hit two hurdles and I could get the 10th place only. With some better fortunes, I might have gone up the order. “All the best young riders of the world are here. The level was quite high. I competed against them and battled hard for higher places. These competitions are like that. You have to depend on the borrowed horses. I feel the 10th place is also an achievement, considering the fitness level of my horse,” he added.
 
His coach Ian Kerr sounded happy with Qadi’s show. “It is a big competition. It was a very good experience for him. He did a very good job at the end of the day. “He could have got a better position yesterday, having a fence down. The fences are there to be cleared. That is the name of the game.” The Irish coach also noted if Qadi had some luck, he could have risen much higher in the final rankings. “To be honest, Hamad could have probably been among the best six if he jumped the double clear. The very first day when we rode the horse, I knew he was not 100 percent fit. We did not jump him too much before the team event.
 
“We tried to see how we can get the best out of him. Today at the cracking ring, he was not sparking.  This was something we could not do anything about it. The horse was drained at the end. Hamad still did fantastic. “There was a nice bunch of horses…some better than others. Our horse was a big mare. He lacked a bit of blood. With more fitness, he could have got better. That is why we tried to have his best for the individual event. But that is way the sport is,” added Kerr.

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