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UAE may lose Shaikh Ahmad talent to UK

Olympic champion already in talks with British Shooting for a coaching role

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If Team GB feel I am the right person to guide them to the next level, then so be it, says Shaikh Ahmad Hasher Al Maktoum.
Gulf News

Dubai: Untapped and under-utilised in the UAE, 2004 Olympic double trap champion Shaikh Ahmad Hasher Al Maktoum has admitted he is seriously considering a job offer made to him by British Shooting.

“Yes, British Shooting has approached me to run a training programme for Great Britain. I am not tied up in any way with the UAE Shooting Association or the UAE National Olympic Committee and I would look at this new challenge in a positive way,” Shaikh Ahmad, the UAE’s only Olympic champion and coach to Britain’s London 2012 double trap gold medallist, told Gulf News.

“If Team GB feel I am the right person to guide them to the next level, then so be it. Anyway, I have not been given anything much to do for shooting in the UAE by the authorities despite all my experience, so I might as well take up the offer. How can I say no to people who appreciate me and my skills?” Shaikh Ahmad said.

The proposal to hand the reins over to Shaikh Ahmad came up when Team GB’s double-trap gold medallist Peter Wilson met British Shooting Chairman John Harris at Heathrow Airport recently.

“John [Harris] asked me how I won the gold medal and none of the other 11 Team GB shooters, did not. And my answer to him was simple: It was because of Shaikh Ahmad and his guidance,” Wilson told Gulf News during a recent visit to Dubai.

Since then, Harris has been ambitiously looking at offering Shaikh Ahmad a coaching job with Team GB with the objective of replicating what he has done with Wilson.

“Team GB needs someone like Shaikh Ahmad for [the 2016 Olympics in] Rio de Janeiro and beyond. We have the talent just like the UAE has the talent, and we just need one man like Shaikh Ahmad to take us along the right path,” Wilson said.

“In shooting, all we need is talent and technique. If you have talent on its own then that’s not enough. And if you have just technique then that’s not enough too. But if you combine the two then you have a gold medal. We just need that one man to spark that talent,” the shooter added.

Wilson admitted that the under-utilisation of Shaikh Ahmad in the UAE baffles him.

“Every country wants to be the best and I believe that with Shaikh Ahmad’s help, Team GB can be the best. What I cannot understand is why the UAE is not using his expertise in training its young shooters,” Wilson pointed out.

“I think it is so crazy that you have countries outside of the UAE who think that this man is the greatest coach and they want to grab him. And then you have his own country that does not even recognise his talent. For me it is a bit of a joke really. It’s a bit silly,” he added.

“I do believe that the UAE has the talent. And if they are able to channel that talent with the right coach and the right technique then wow, you guys can win many medals.”