Kuwaitis flocking to buy London 2012 Olympics tickets after IOC decision

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Faye Sultan, Kuwait’s first female Olympian swimmer, to represent her country in the London 2012 Olympics. Photo – Kuwait Times

The International Olympic Committee’s decision to let Kuwait compete in London Olympics has increased the turnout of Kuwaiti citizens buying tickets for various games.

Abdul Wahab Al Senafi, in charge of an online sport website, told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the turnout of citizens increased more than three times right after the decision was announced. He expected the numbers to increase in the next few days.

Many Kuwaitis are rushing to buy tickets of various Olympic Games in which compatriot athletes are participating in.

The Kuwaiti athletes are taking part in the shooting, athletics, table tennis and swimming competitions.

“Our customers are more determined to support these athletes who will contribute to raise the flag of Kuwait high at this significant sport gathering,” Al Senafi said. The Kuwaiti journalist praised mediation efforts made by the Kuwaiti Amir in ensuring the country’s participation.

Ali Maher, director of a travel agency in Kuwait, said he expected the demand for direct flights to London to increase in the next few days, adding that the Olympic Games are among the major sporting events that attract sport fans around the world.

Female Athletes

Faye Sultan, 17, is one of two women Kuwait is sending to the London Games, which officially start in two days. According to Obaid Al-Enezi, secretary general of the country’s Olympic committee, Sultan will compete in the 50-meter freestyle and joins another nine Kuwaitis, including female shooter Mariam Razouki.

Sultan is the first female swimmer to represent Kuwait in the Olympics. The young swimmer said her interest in swimming was driven by the lack of a female national team and to change the perception of women in her country. Daughter of Tarek Sultan, chairman of Agility (AGLTY), a Kuwaiti storage and logistics company, she began training with a coach at the age of 9.

Kuwait has sent women to the Olympics twice before, Al-Enezi said.

Close Shave

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week allowed Kuwait to raise its flag and play its national anthem during the London Olympics, ending the two-year-old suspension on the Gulf state over allegations of political interference.

Kuwaiti government failed to amend legislation that permits officials to interfere in the elections of sporting organisations. The suspension meant Kuwaiti athletes were barred from Olympic funding and officials banned from attending the games and meetings.

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