Shaikh Ahmed Mohammed Hasher Al Maktoum has become the first UAE national to qualify for the Olympics.
Shaikh Ahmed secured his spot after last week's men's shooting qualification tournament in Malaysia when he scored 143 out of a possible 150 points, good enough for the bronze medal and a place in the Sydney Olympic Games.
"I am, indeed, delighted to have qualified for the Olympics and it will be a great honour to represent my country," Shaikh Ahmed told newsmen at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. He overcame a strong field, including more than 50 shooters from 14 countries, to finish third behind a Chinese and an Indian shooter.
In preparation for Sydney, Shaikh Ahmed will compete in the World Cup in New Delhi in early March and then travel to Sydney for the pre-Olympic Test World Cup. This will be followed by competitions in Egypt and Italy before heading to Australia in September for the Olympics.
Ever since Shaikh Ahmed, the former UAE squash champion, took up shooting three years ago, he has excelled at the sport. Last year, he achieved top 10 finishes in three of the four world class events. He also received a gold medal in the team and a silver medal in the individual events at the Arab Games in Jordan last August. Now, Shaikh Ahmed aspires to achieve another first for the UAE - an Olympic medal.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)