A Maldivian athlete made history on Sunday by winning the first gold medal at an international sporting event. Hassan Saaid won the gold medal for the 100 meter sprint at the ongoing Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG).
Saaid, who has been training in Jamaica for the past four years, completed the race in 10: 51 seconds, a millisecond slower than the Maldivian national record.
“This is my gift to the Maldives as we celebrate our 50th anniversary of independence,” he said on winning. Saaid prostrated in a gesture of gratitude on the track upon completing the race.
Thank you all for the continuous support. I will keep working hard.
— Hassan Saaid (@SaaidKalhey) August 2, 2015
Shamha Ahmed, who represented Maldives in the women’s 10 km race, also won the Bronze medal by completing the event in 45 minutes, setting a new national record.
Vice President Ahmed Adeeb suggested Saaid’s win was a result of the government’s youth policies. He described Saaid as a national hero.
Not even two years with HEP Yameens focus on Youth brings first ever Gold Medal for Maldives, @SaaidKalhey u are our national hero & pride !
— Ahmed Adeeb (@Ahmed_Adeeb) August 2, 2015
Reunion, a French territory in the Indian Ocean, is hosting the games.
This year Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar, Mayotte and Reunion Islands will be competing along with Maldives in 14 sporting events including athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, handball, judo, sailing, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, and weightlifting.
The men’s football team lost its first match of the tournament against Mayotte by 3-1 and won its second match against Seychelles by 2-1, while the Maldivian female football team drew 1-1 against Mayotte on its first match and lost to Seychelles by 4-1 in its second match.
The men’s table tennis team lost all three matches by 3-1 to Reunion, 3-0 to Mauritius and 3-1 with Seychelles. Maldivian women’s table tennis fared better by winning one match against Madagascar by 3-2 and losing to Seychelles and Reunion, both by 3-0.
The women’s volleyball team lost to Madagascar by 3-0. The Maldives also lost to Mauritius with 34-13 points in female handball.
Maldives won its first men’s badminton singles against Reunion by 3-2, but was defeated in the mix doubles against Seychelles by 2-1.
In men’s basketball, Maldives was defeated by Mauritius by 77-60 points while in women’s badminton singles, Maldives was defeated by Mauritius by 5-0.
The most successful country in the games in terms of the number of medals so far is Mauritius with 17 medals including 6 Golds, 5 Silvers and 6 Bronzes.
The games will end on August 8.
Correction: This article previously incorrectly stated Saaid had completed the 100 km run in 10 minutes 51 seconds. The correct time is 10:51 seconds.