Dubai: Shaikh Ahmad Mohammad Hasher Al Maktoum, the UAE's Olympic gold medallist, has announced his retirement after the Beijing Games.
"This Olympic Games is the last time that I will represent my country. This is life decision and nothing will stop me from taking this decision. I am not coming back," Shaikh Ahmad told Gulf News from Beijing.
Shaikh Ahmad is seen as one of the main Olympic medal hopefuls for the UAE following his stunning success in Athens four years back.
The UAE shooter equalled the Olympic record in the double trap on his way to the country's first-ever gold medal.
Shaikh Ahmad will be shooting in the trap and double trap competitions at the Beijing Games. The trap qualifying for men will be held first thing at the Beijing Shooting Range today.
"I've not done anything extraordinary this time. The focus so far has been to just go out there and enjoy what I am doing. I want to give my shooting a nice soft concentration wherein the emphasis will be to see how much pleasure I derive contesting against some of the best shooters in the world," Shaikh Ahmad stated.
Shaikh Ahmad stopped shooting briefly after feeling slighted by the sports authorities in the country despite his Olympic gold medal in Athens. And though he did not shoot at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, he ultimately started training for a comeback to defend his gold at the Olympics.
"The preparation has been average. At the moment, I am training daily with the hope of going out there and cruising with no pressure on me whatsoever," Shaikh Ahmad said.
"Honestly, I feel no sort of pressure at the moment. I realise that I am in fact enjoying every moment of my presence on the range," Shaikh Ahmad reflected.
A former multiple national squash champion, Shaikh Ahmad announced he would start shooting in the middle of March 1997.
"It took me seven long years and a lot of hard work to fulfil my promise. The Olympic gold put me at the top of the world and that is where I am at the moment," he remarked.