Dubai’s “karate princess” going for Olympic gold

Shaikha Maitha on Forbes Hottest Royals list


Dubai’s karate princess, Sheikha Maitha Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is sparring with the previous Olympic gold medalist as part of a rigorous training schedule ahead of the 2008 Beijing games.

Shaikha Maitha, the 27-year-old daughter of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is attending a training camp in Beijing with members of China’s tae kwon do squad, UAE daily Gulf News reported on Wednesday.

Maitha, who is competing in the tae kwon do under-67 kilogram category at the Olympics, has been sparring with the Athens 2004 gold medal winner Lu Wi.

"Most of the fighters here are of an international caliber and Shaikha Maitha has been training two times a day so that we can derive maximum benefits here," one of her coaches, Ziad Hammad told Gulf News from Beijing.

The tae kwon do competition will be held on August 20. The UAE team, led by Maitha, will move on to Korea next week for more training before going straight to Beijing for the opening ceremony on August 8, the paper said.

Last month, the UAE’s Olympic committee announced that Maitha will hoist UAE's flag at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Maitha, an accomplished karate and tae kwon do athlete, won the silver medal in the 2006 Asian games women's over-60 kilogram karate event.

In 2008, she was included in the list of the "20 Hottest Young Royals" by Forbes Magazine. It credited the top athlete for representing the UAE at international karate and tae kwon do competitions.

(Compiled and edited by Ayesha Bhatty).