THE countdown for a group of young Bahraini athletes making a historic debut at the 2012 London Olympic Games has just started.
The kingdom's delegation will be closely watching 16-year-old rising swimmer Khalid Baba kick-starting their campaign tomorrow in the 100m butterfly qualifying to be held at the Olympic Pool.
Khalid had conducted two training sessions along with compatriot Sara Al Flaij, also aged 16, who is due to compete in the women's 50m freestyle event on Friday.
Both swimmers, with the hope of improving on their personal records at this edition Games, arrived in London along with their Bahraini coach Khalid Ahmed.
Ahmed adopted several tactics during yesterday's sessions ahead of their respective contests this weekend.
Meanwhile, Bahrain's only shooter Azza Al Qasmi also started her preparations yesterday at the Shooting Range in London ahead of the 50 Rifle 3 Positions event that will take place on Saturday.
Azza, who will be competing in her first Olympics, has been selected to be Bahrain's flag bearer during the opening ceremony.
A total of 13 Bahrainis will be going for gold in a variety of athletics, swimming and shooting events when they compete against the world's best.
Eight women and six men will compete during the 17-day event. The remaining 10 medal hopefuls are all scheduled to compete in athletics.
They are Mahboob Hassan, Adam Ismail, Shawqi Jamal, Bilal Ali, Mariam Jamal, Mimi Salim, Shama Mubarak, Taj Baba, Jamila Shami and Maitha Lahdan.
Hassan, Mansoor, Jamila and Shama have already arrived in London and are presently training at the Olympic Village.
The other six are yet to arrive from their European-based countries where they have set up training programmes.
They will also be joined by Bahrain Athletics Association president Shaikh Talal bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, who is keen to closely witness the progress of his athletes, with Shama Mubarak set to begin Bahrain's bid on Friday when she battles with the world's best in the women's 10,000m.
Bahrain's preparations were also followed up by Bahrain Olympic Committee honorary president Shaikh Isa bin Rashid Al Khalifa, who reached the premises of the Bahrain delegation at the village.
Shaikh Isa met members of the Bahrain delegation and was briefed by delegation director Saud Al Ghunaim on latest preparations prior to their participation in the Olympics. He urged the athletes to put on their best efforts, and wished them success.
Shaikh Isa lauded the efforts exerted by the Bahrain delegation in providing all means of support to its athletes that would contribute to achieving their best results in this world gathering.