London: The UAE’s challenge in skeet shooting ended when Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum failed to qualify for the final round even as Qatari Nasser Al Attiyah did the Gulf region proud by claiming the bronze in a shoot-off at the Royal Artillery Barracks here on Tuesday. Vincent Hancock of the US successfully defended his Beijing gold with a new Olympic record.
Hancock shot a score of 148 out of 150, ahead of Denmark’s Anders Golding on 146 while Al Attiyah took bronze in a shoot-off to bring the Arab world their first medal in London. It was a fitting tribute to Al Attiyah’s prowess as an all-round sportsperson, for he is a decorated motor rally champion who crowned himself with the Dakar Rally last year.
Incidentally, this is Qatar’s third-ever medal at the Olympics, all three being bronze so far. Mohammad Suleiman won it in 1,500 metres at the ‘92 Barcelona Games while weightlifter Said Saif Assad won in Sydney in 2000.
Needing to keep his chances alive for one of the six spots to make it to the final with perfect rounds of 25 in his two visits to the range, Shaikh Saeed finished with a narrow miss each in both his rounds that were held as part of qualifying today morning. The two rounds of 24 each gave the UAE shooter a total of 118 and an overall position of 13th in a field of 36 shooters vying in groups of six since yesterday morning.
Leading the group of six shooters into the final was defending champion Hancock as the American bettered the Olympic record of 121 by two shots.
Silver medallist Golding also shot an Olympic record with a total of 122 with two perfect visits to the range, while Valeriy Shomin of Russia and Al Attiyah tied at the old record with totals of 121 to qualify in third and fourth, respectively.
Later in the final, Hancock went on to claim the gold with a final perfect round of 25 while Golding took the silver with a total of 146 and Al Attiyah the bronze following a shoot-off with Shomin after the two shooters were tied on 144.
Shaikh Saeed was in contention all along despite opening the day with a total of 24 missing a single target but in the second round, he had a similar 24 for a final total of 118 out of a possible 125. Despite finishing in 13th overall, Shaikh Saeed’s performance is a solid one, considering the fact that even a single shot can make a lot of difference at this level of competition.
The Czech Republic’s Jan Sychra ended as the sixth and final shooter in the final when he shot rounds of 25 and 24 and a total of 120 — the same total Shaikh Saeed could have had if he has perfect scores in his last two rounds of qualifying.
Three shooters ended with total of 119 and another seven, including Shaikh Saeed, had totals of 118.