Saif Bin Futais Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The UAE was hopefully looking forward to many more returns after their shooter Saif Bin Futais clinched gold at the 5 Stand Global and Seventh Asian Shotgun Championships that concluded in Astana, Kazakhstan late on Sunday.

Held at the Target Shooting Club, Astana, the shooting championship attracted shooters from across the globe competing for a total prize fund of $315,000 (Dh 1.15 million).

Held in dipping temperature of less than 10 degrees, Bin Futais maintained his composure when needed most to finish at the top of the pack of six finalists. With win playing an important factor during competition, Bin Futais ended at the top of the pack at the end of first day of qualifiers on Friday. On Saturday, the 44-year-old shooter from the UAE did well to take the first spot and qualify for the final where he had a total of 53 targets for the gold medal.

“The biggest challenge for me was to adjust to the outdoor conditions. In the UAE we are at the height of summer where temperatures can go quite high. And to be competing in under 10 degrees was a huge difference that I had to switch off totally. In the end the patience paid and I am pleased and very happy to be back with another gold medal for my country,” Bin Futais said.

“I dedicate this medal to our leaders along with the other big moments I have achieved during my shooting career. Shooters from the UAE have always been at the forefront and I hope we can duplicate Shaikh Ahmad’s [Hasher Al Maktoum] Olympic dream one more time,” he added.

Bin Futais is currently holding on to No. 2 in the rankings of the Asian Shooting Federation (ASF) behind Kuwaiti shooter Abdullah Al Rashidi and Mairaj Khan of India in third place. “The field was strong this time as well. But my focus was more on the bigger goal of winning a medal for the UAE,” Bin Futais stressed.

This is the fourth medal for Bin Futais after the UAE has clinched gold at the Pan Arab Championship, followed by another gold at the of Cyprus Shooting Grand Prix and the bronze in the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.

“We know that with all the support we receive from our leaders and the UAE National Olympic Committee (UAE NOC) it is our duty to perform well and continue our surge towards an Olympic medal for only the second time in the history of UAE sport,” Bin Futais said.