Haya adds glamour to Olympics

Haya adds glamour to Olympics

BEIJING - Princess Haya bint Hussain added a bit of glamour to the Olympic spirit on Thursday as the world’s best athletes poured into Beijing and the Olympic flame passed over the Great Wall.

By (Agencies)

Published: Sat 9 Aug 2008, 1:25 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:01 PM

Princess Haya, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is chairwoman of the International Equestrian Federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

The Princess carried the torch on one leg of the run through the streets of Beijing on Thursday as Games organisers sought to shift global attention to what they promised would be a spectacular celebration of sport.

“We have prepared for the Beijing Olympics for seven years and now we are ready... we are very confident indeed that we will stage a successful Olympics,” organising committee spokesman Sun Weide said. “Of course we hope that these will be a great Games, even the greatest.” For China, the Games are an opportunity to show the world how far it has come since the communists came to power in 1949 following a brutal civil war, and particularly the past three decades of phenomenal economic development.

The Olympics offer to highlight China’s social and economic transformation, similar to the 1964 Games for Japan and the 1988 event for South Korea.

More than 100 heads of state and other senior national leaders are expected to attend the opening ceremony that will kick off on Friday at 4pm UAE time. The date and time of the ceremony is no coincidence as, for many Chinese, the number eight is auspicious because it represents prosperity.

And sporting glory will undoubtedly be the main focus for the 10,000 athletes. For them, this is the moment of truth. The first golds of these Games on Saturday will be decided at the shooting range where UAE’s Shaikh Ahmed Mohammed Hasher Al Maktoum bids for his second straight gold.

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