by Salah Takieddine
BEIRUT, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- With the 19th Asian Games just around the corner, Lebanese judokas are training intensively with their Iraqi counterparts at a sports center in the coastal city of Jounieh, with the goal of enhancing their medal prospects at the Hangzhou Games.
Ghadi Moussa shared his excitement about participating in these games for the first time. "We are going to China with hopes to win a medal in the Asian Games despite all the circumstances and difficulties in Lebanon," Moussa said.
His sentiments were echoed by teammate Joe Haddad, who remarked: "It is true we have a difficult situation but this doesn't stop us. We always look positively to the things we have in hands and prepare ourselves."
"It is a very important participation for us in judo competitions. With our preparation, I hope to achieve good results," he added.
Despite Lebanon's severe economic challenges, the Lebanese delegation remains committed to performing well at the games, said Francois Saade, vice-president of the Lebanese Olympic Committee and president of the Lebanese Judo Federation.
Lebanon will compete in 12 sports, including weightlifting, judo, shooting, swimming, athletics, rowing and fencing.
"Despite the harsh economic, security and living situation, and the absence of the governmental or Olympic Committee support, we are taking on a challenge. We want to participate and win a medal. We are very close to winning a medal in shooting, weightlifting and judo competitions," said Saade.
Lebanon has historically performed well in shooting, with athletes like Walid Al Najjar and Ray Bassil, both set to compete in Hangzhou, earning numerous accolades.
In a prior interview, Al Najjar stated: "What is good is that our team is composed of three shooters. We represented Lebanon in the past 10 years in different competitions and we collected many medals."
Al Najjar, who has been a part of Lebanon's national shooting team since 2009, has a rich history in trap shooting events and has secured several medals in past competitions. "The games will be super excellent," said Al Najjar.
Reflecting on China's prowess in hosting sports events, Saade commented: "My participation in the Beijing Olympic Games was the best ever I had. I hope that Hangzhou will be the same."