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Italy's Benelli edges out Kemppainen for skeet gold

Gulf News

The UAE's Shaikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum failed to qualify for the finals of the men's skeet shooting event in Athens yesterday, which ended in a dramatic shoot-off for the gold and bronze medals.

Shaikh Saeed shot a five-round total of 114 points to finish in 37th place. His scores for each round of the qualifying competition, where marksmen were asked to shoot at 25 targets, were 23, 24, 23, 22 and 22.

Italy's Andrea Benelli won the gold medal in a shoot-off against Marko Kemppainen of Finland and then announced his retirement.

"From today, I'm not shooting any more," Benelli told the Italian news agency ANSA. "From now on I will only use my gun for hunting, my great passion," he said.

Kemppainen had earlier tied a world record with a perfect qualifying score of 125 en route to winning the silver medal.

Earlier, Qatar's Nasser Al Attiya narrowly missed winning the bronze medal when he was beaten in a three-way shoot-off.

Juan Miguel Rodriguez of Cuba won the shoot-off when Al Attiya missed a target for the first time in the final.

Al Attiya is the reigning Middle East Rally Champion, a title that he won in Dubai last year.
The Qatari was sixth in the event at the 2000 Olympics at Sydney. But yesterday he exhibited much-improved skills and resolve to emerge as a genuine medal contender.

American Shawn Dulohery, the third marksman in the shoot-off, was the first to be eliminated when he missed on his third visit.

The three bronze medal contenders had been even at 147 after the final round.

Finn Kemppainen led the field of finalists after the qualifying round, but shot 24 out of 25 in the final, allowing Benelli to catch up with him with a score of 149 to force the shoot-off.

Result
1. Andrea Benelli (Italy) 149; 2. Marko Kemppainen (Finland) 149; 3. Juan Miguel Rodriguez (Cuba) 147; 4. Nasser Al Attiya (Qatar) 147; 5. Shawn Dulohery (US) 147; 6. Harald Jensen (Norway) 145.

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