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Dheema becomes first Maldivian athlete to qualify for Olympics this year

Dheema is the first Maldvian athlete to qualify for the Olympics after winning a qualifying match.

Ameera Osmanagic
15 May 2024, MVT 21:23
Fathimath Dheema Ali -- Photo: Mihaaru
Ameera Osmanagic
15 May 2024, MVT 21:23

Winning a gold at this year's South Asian Olympic qualifiers, Fathimath Dheema has become the first Maldivian athlete to secure a place in the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics.

Dheema won the qualifiers held in Nepal after competing with Sri Lankan champion Bimandi Bandara, finishing off with a stark 4-1 difference in today's match.

Dheema's performace throughout the qualifiers was strong, winning both games in the group stage which took her straight to the semi finals.

During the finals today, Dheema won the first game with an 11-8 lead while a handful of mistakes cost her the second game. But Dheema came strong for the last three games, winning with 13-11, 11-7 and 11-5 scores.

Fathimath Dheema Ali -- Photo: Mihaaru

The 15 year old table tennis player is the first Maldivian athlete to claim a spot at the Olympics after competing in a qualifying stage, and will also be the first player to represent Maldives in the sport.

Previously Maldives' participation in the Olympics was through tripartite invitations, where the country's participation mainly focused on athletics and swimming.

However, Maldives was also represented in badminton twice by players Mohamed Ajufaan Rasheed (2012 Olympics) and Fathimath Nabaha Abdul Razzaq (2020 Olympics held in 2021) who were granted the opportunity to participate based on their scores in the qualifying games despite not winning the qualifiers.

This year, France will host the Olympics in its capital Paris from July 26 to August 11.

This will be the biggest multi-sports game in Dheema's portfolio. In 2021 she also took the title for the first Maldivian to qualify for the World Junior Championship.

Dheema is currently training with Croatian coach Zvonimir Korenic.

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