With only two days before the opening of the Olympics in London, the pressure is high as athletes make the (sometimes long) journey from their home countries. For Iraqi Olympic shooter, Noor Aaamer Jassim, her journey to London has been especially stressful.
Jassim was boarding an Emirates airline plane in Baghdad when she was informed by the airplane crew that she would not be able to take the gun with her on the plane.
The 18-year-old athlete was supposed to make the layover in Dubai. However, according to Emirati authorities, guns are not included on the permitted possessions list.
reports, Yusuf Khoshaba, the public relations chief for the Iraqi Olympic Committee, said the Emirati authorities promised the gun would safely make its journey to London on July 25.
The Iraqi Olympic team has had a rough time preparing for the Olympics. Poor infrastructure and training facilities means the eight Iraqi athletes will be competing against a much better trained and equipped competition.
The Iraqi team hasn't been particularly successful in bringing home medals either. The first (and last) medal they won was at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. The team brought home a bronze medal in weightlifting.
The team, however, remains hopeful and in the spirit of the Olympics (unlike the reversed motto
by Belarus's strongman President Alyaksandr Lukashenka) believes that participation is more important than winning.
"Our participation in London will be a very difficult test for us but even if we are not successful or if we don't get the results we are hoping for we will not consider it a failure. Our participation in itself is enough," a runner, Adnan Taess, told AFP.
-- Deana Kjuka