x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Olympics: Sheikh Saeed falls short as Al Attiyah wins bronze

The UAE flagbearer finished strongly in Tuesday's qualifying session, but paid the price of his misses in Monday's opening round.

Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum competes during the second skeet qualifying round at Royal Artillery Barracks
Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum competes during the second skeet qualifying round at Royal Artillery Barracks

LONDON // Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum finished 13th in the men’s skeet competition at an overcast Royal Artillery Barracks Tuesday, missing out on becoming the UAE’s first finalist at London 2012 by just two shots.

The UAE's flag-bearer at the Games only missed two targets out of 50 in the final two rounds of qualifying but was unable to make up for his slow start on day one of the event.

Sheikh Saeed, who was appearing in his fourth Olympics, had an under par opening round in which he had four zeros, but only missed three targets in the remaining four rounds of qualifying.

In a marker of how strong the field was in the skeet competition, Vincent Hancock broke his own Olympic record in winning gold for the United States, shooting a perfect 25 in the final.

The 23 year old, who is a sergeant in the Marksmanship Unit of the US Army, became the first man to retain the Olympic skeet title in the process.

The Arabian Gulf was represented on the podium, however, as Nasser Al Attiyah, who had finished fourth in Athens eight years ago, took bronze for Qatar behind of Anders Golding, the Danish shooter.

Al Attiyah, 41, who won last year’s Dakar Rally and the Middle East Rally Championship in Dubai in December in his day job as a rally driver, took third after winning a shoot off with Valeriy Shomin, from Russia.

It was Qatar’s third medal – all bronze – in their Games history, and was rapturously received by their Olympic delegation, who mobbed their shooter after he sealed third place.

Al Attiyah himself could barely conceal his delight.

“I am not supposed to be tweeting right now, but I want to say I love you all,” he tweeted shortly after the conclusion. Winning a medal was quite a feat for a shooter who commits the majority of his time to his main sport, rally driving.

“I cannot practice because I am always travelling, around 270 days,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“I came here and shot maybe one week or 10 days before. It is completely different feeling because Olympics is every four years and the Dakar Rally you can do every year.

“I learn and I take a lot from rally about how I can fight and this is what I did here because really I don’t have a lot of training because I am busy with motorsport.”

The UAE still have high hopes in the shooting competitions, with Sheikh Juma bin Dalmouk competing in tomorrow’s double trap discipline and Dhaher Al Aryani participating in the trap.

pradley@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE