Tokyo Aquatics Centre in the past couple of days saw world records tumbling, Olympic marks set and world and Olympic champions making a splash. The venue can be overwhelming at times, especially for a debutant.
Nerves probably took over Oman’s Issa al Adawi as he made his debut at the Olympic Games on Tuesday with the result not going his way as he finished sixth in the preliminary heat of the 100m freestyle swimming event.
The 22-year-old student of Chukyo University in Japan was himself ‘disappointed’ with his efforts as he clocked 51.81 seconds to bow out of the Games. In his exclusive remarks to Muscat Daily after his debut, which he had earlier called a ‘dream’, Adawi said, “Yes, I am disappointed with the result. I have done better than this and my personal best is 51.69s.
“My preparations had gone well and I had worked hard to make it a memorable debut. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. I was confident of not only bettering my personal best but also finishing around mid-50s.”
The lanky swimmer did not have the best of the starts in heat three of the event. He had the slowest reaction time of 0.63s among the eight competitors and completed the first turn in 24.57s, placing him sixth, which was where he ended.
Despite the disappointment, Adawi vowed to bounce back. “This failure is a lesson for me and it makes me more motivated than ever to aim to break my personal best. I know that I can do better. I am now looking ahead for next major championships and my aim is clear – to improve upon my career-best time of 51.69.”
Yemen’s Mokhtar al Yamani won the heat three with a time of 50.52s. Following the conclusion of allthe nine heats, Italy’s Thomas Ceccon emerged as the fastest qualifier with a time of 47.71s to advance with 15 others. American Caleb Dressel, who won a 4x100m relay gold on Monday for his team, was the next best with a time of 47.73s. The cutoff for the top-16 closed at 48.44s with Great Britain’s Jacob Whittle making it as the final qualifier. Adawi’s timing placed him 53rd among the 70 competitors.
Oman’s next event will be on Friday when sprinter Mazoon al Alawi will compete in the 100m women’s preliminary heat.
Amur al Khanjari, 20, the sultanate’s other Olympic debutant, will be in action in the 81kg Group B event on July 31 (Saturday) at the Tokyo
Oman’s star sprinter Barakat al Harthi will be in action in men’s 100m preliminary heat on Saturday while experienced marksman Hamed al Khatri will compete in the 50m rifle three position men’s qualification round on August 2.