x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Olympics: Marksman Sheikh Saeed needs to hit perfect target

Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum needs to be as close to perfect as possible if he is to make the skeet final at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum takes aim during the skeet men's qualification round at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Cathal McNaughton / Reuters
Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum takes aim during the skeet men's qualification round at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Cathal McNaughton / Reuters

LONDON // Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum needs to be as close to perfect as possible if he is to make the skeet final at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

The UAE flag-bearer lies in 11th place, with the top six shooters in the 36-man field progressing through to the final round.

He recovered superbly in rounds two and three Monday, missing just one target out of 50 shots, but is still trying to repair the damage of four misses in his opening round.

He has two more rounds of the qualifying phase this morning in which to attempt to claw back the lost ground on the leaders.

"I think we had some bad luck and it was really, really disappointing for him," said Leonas Molotokas, Sheikh Saeed's coach.

"It was a bad start, but he did very well to shoot so well after that. After four zeros at the start, it was good shooting to follow.

"All the scores were low in the opening round, but a few shooters did better. We need it to be exactly the same [as in the last two rounds today]. He cannot miss a target."

With Sheikh Saeed still in contention, the nations of the Arabian Gulf are well represented in the skeet event.

Abdulla Al Rashidi, of Kuwait, lies in sixth having missed only one less target than the UAE competitor.

Nasser Al Attiyah, the Qatari professional rally-driver hunting his first Olympic medal in his fifth Games, lies in fourth place with 72 successful shots out of 75.

Al Attiyah, who finished fourth in the Athens Olympics eight years ago and won last year's Dakar Rally in his day job in motorsport, acknowledged that conditions had been testing.

"I feel good about it, but there is a long way to go," he was quoted as saying. "We will see [today] how it goes.

"The weather has been sunny, but it was also a bit bad because there was some wind and some targets swayed. But the conditions are going to be the same for all of us."

Vincent Hancock, a sergeant in the US Marksmanship Unit, leads the way in the competition after missing just one target in the three opening rounds.

The American shooter's tally of 74 out of 75 left him two ahead of Stefan Nilsson of Sweden, and on course to retain the gold he won as a 19 year old in Beijing four years ago.

pradley@thenational.ae

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