Dubai: Zahra Nemati, Iran’s champion at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, finished at the top of the heap in the Recurve Women’s Open ranking rounds as the seventh Fazza Para Archery World Ranking Tournament - Dubai 2021 got off to a great start at the Dubai Club for People of Determination on Tuesday.
Back on the range after more than a year, Nemati ended with a score of 620 in the rankings rounds.
“This is a very important competition as I put my preparations on track for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. I think my score is a good one considering that I have neither been active in training or participating in any sort of competition,” Nemati said. “In addition, all of us had to face the difficult winds. Hopefully those are behind us as we target a better performance on Wednesday.”
Turkey’s Oznur Cure took second spot in Compound Women’s Open qualification round with a score of 673. “I have really enjoyed the qualification round and I have found that everything is perfect here. My main aim is to be a champion so that I can prove what a person of determination can achieve through hard work,” she said.
Also impressing on the opening day was Ukraine’s Serhiy Atamanenko and India’s Shyam Sundar Swami as they took the first two places in the rankings with a score of 618 in the Men’s Compound Open event.
More than 70 para archers from 11 nations were action with the ranking rounds for Recurve Men’s and Women’s Open, Compound Men’s and Women’s Open and Combined W1 categories on the opening day.
“I was expecting a better score to start this competition, but it was the wind that was tricky. But all that is behind me and I will be targeting the gold on Wednesday,” Swami said.
Making a memorable debut at the Fazza Championships was France’s Guillaume Toucoullet who topped the Men’s Recurve Open event with a total of 620.
“I was excited with the way I shot today. I want to take the pleasure, learn all that I can and enjoy the competition. I will look to secure a quota for France, and once I return home, I will work hard to improve my technique and keep my focus for bigger challenges ahead,” Toucoullet said.
Slovakia’s Marcel Pavlik, former world No. 1 and last year’s champion at the Fazza Championships, showed a bit of nerves, but managed to qualify in third place.
“It’s been more than one year that I was competing. The lockdown was not good as I couldn’t train much and had to stay at home. I am happy to compete again internationally and this competition will serve as a preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The target definitely is to win the gold again here,” the defending champion said after qualifying in third with a total of 677.
Meanwhile, Dominique Ohlmann, the Chairman of the Para Archery Committee at World Archery, was satisfied with all the arrangements Dubai had put in place to host the Fazza Championships. “We are happy to be here and plan the World Championships for next year,” Ohlmann said.
“We are confident that this Championships will be as successful as the Para Athletics Grand Prix that was held here last week. We hope that all the teams follow the rules which is also the part of safety and success of the Championships.”
Dubai will be looking to host a successful World Para Archery Championships at the same venue, next year. “We do not have many countries in the world that can organise major international Para Archery events. I feel Dubai and Bangkok are among the 10 cities in the five continents that have the ability to organise major global events,” Ohlmann said. “We have great confidence in Dubai to organise an ideal tournament and expect more than 200 archers to participate in the World Archery Championships here next year.”