Qataris make historic choice for opening ceremony

Qatari female shooter Bahiya al-Hamad will carry the country's flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on July 27, the Qatari Olympic Committee announced on Wednesday on Twitter.

The 19-year-old - who is one of four female athletes to be selected for the Games in what is a first for the Gulf state - said she was overjoyed at having the honour conferred on her.

"I am shaking with joy to be carrying the national flag of my country, Qatar, at the opening ceremony," said al-Hamad, who will compete in the 10 metres pistol event.

"It is an historic moment for sport," added al-Hammad, who won three titles at the 2011 Arab Games and a silver medal at the Arab Championships in March.

Al-Hammad will be joined at the Games by female compatriots: swimmer Nada Mohammed Wafa Arakji, sprinter Noor Al-Malki, and table tennis player Aya Majdi.

The groundbreaking decision to field female athletes for the first time in their history at the Games came after a series of talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Despite this move earlier this year Qatari capital Doha still failed to make the short list for the race to host the 2020 Summer Games - the second successive time they failed to make it out of the long list.

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