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UAE shooter gets a taste for Olympic Games

Al Aryani hopes to be back for more despite struggling in trap event in London

Image Credit: AFP
UAE’s Dhaher Al Aryani in the men’s trap qualification at theRoyal Artillery Barracks Excel centre on Monday.
Gulf News

London: UAE shooter Dhaher Al Aryani reflected on his efforts at London 2012, where he finished 32nd out of 34 in the trap discipline qualifying on Monday, and beamed: “This is my first Olympic Games and it will definitely not be my last.”

A relative novice among the multiple champions who participated in the competition, Al Aryani was not overawed by the occasion.

“Now after finishing this competition against some of the world’s best champion shooters, I have learnt so much that I feel confident on the future,” he told Gulf News.

“I was nervous because I feel the pressure of shooting at my peak at each and every shot. That is very difficult as sport turns into a completely different form in such cases.”

The 39-year-old who hails from Ras Al Khaimah looked fidgety on the opening day, and this showed as he shot two rounds of 21 and then a more confident 23 to end with 65 hit targets.

“Remember I was shooting in the same group as Michael Diamond, Alexey Alipov and an in-form Fahad Al Dheehani. This was my first time at such a big competition and I was a bit shaky,” he admitted.

Two from his squad — Diamond and Al Dheehani — went on to reach the final six, ultimately going for a shoot-off to decide the bronze.

“Just coming to an Olympic Games can be such a life-changer,” Al Aryani said. “I come from Ras Al Khaimah and it took me some time to come to terms with a lot of things here and with my sport. But I have learnt so many things and these will not be forgotten easily.”

The UAE shooter kept his focus on the second day as well, even though he knew that his chances of making it to the final six were remote. “My intention was to just go there and see how much I could do,” he said.

But his concentration snapped and he ended with a final round of 19. “It’s a learning curve and I can only get better. This is my first, but certainly not my last Olympic Games,” he promised.