TOKYO, July 23 (KUNA) -- Swimmer Lara Dashti became Kuwait's first female athlete to have ever lifted her country's flag at an Olympic opening ceremony as she took part in the event alongside fellow men's shooter Talal Al-Rashidi at the Tokyo 2020 Games on Friday.
The illustrious sporting event has allowed two competitors to carry their nation's flag in unison for the first time ever, breaking a decades-old tradition requiring a single flag bearer.
Due to COVID-19 measures, spectators were banned from attending the event, which limited attendence to only state officials, including Japanese Emperor Naruhito and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.
Speaking abouth the milestone, Dashti was quoted by Kuwait's Olympic Committee as saying she was "overwhelmed with happiness" and that her feelings were "indescribable," having reached the "pinnacle of joy and pleasure in a moment that will remain etched in memory." Speaking for herself and on behalf of her female counterparts, Dashti said the women competitors felt a sense of responsibility and urgency at the games, where they hoped to do their absolute best.
Al-Rashidi, meanwhile, described the endeavour as "historic," adding "every Kuwaiti has the right to take pride in their country and their feeling of belonging to it." The trap shooter, a 2018 world champion, two-time Asian Games gold medalist and 2012 Olympic Games competitor, felt "enthusiastic," saying he looked forward to making an achievement for his country.
To date, Kuwaitis have taken part in 12 Olympic Games, winning two bronze medals for the tiny Gulf nation and one gold medal under the Olympic flag. Fehaid Al-Deehani claimed all three - two bronze medals in the men's shooting double trap at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and trap at the London 2012 Olympics, in addition to a gold medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first independent athlete to ever achieve the feat.
Kuwait Olympic Committee President Sheikh Fahad Naser Al-Sabah, who attended the ceremony, praised the organisation as "outstanding." (end) mk.aq.sd