Doha, 7 November 2019 - Qatar’s close-knit shooting community erupted in celebration on Wednesday after Mohamed al-Rumaihi booked a quota spot at the Olympics, the first shooter from the country to do so for next year’s quadrennial Games in Tokyo.
The 30-year-old made the cut despite finishing fifth in the Men’s Trap final in the ongoing 14th Asian Shooting Championships at the Lusail Shooting Complex.
“Congratulations to Mohamed al-Rumaihi, the first Qatari shooter to qualify for next year’s Olympics,” Qatar Olympic Committee President HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani tweeted.
Kuwaiti shooters made a clean sweep of the podium with gold medallist Talal al-Rashidi winning the second quota place for his country, but since his country had exhausted its two quotas for the event – Abdulrahman al-Faihan had won one last year – al-Rumaihi was a beneficiary.
The Qatari Trap trio of al-Rumaihi, Rashid al-Athba and Saeed Abu Sharib also bagged the team bronze, behind winners Kuwait and runners-up India, thus providing the icing on the cake on the country’s celebrations.
The team competition runs concurrently with the individual event with the combined scores of the participants from each participating nation determining the positions.
Al-Rumaihi entered the final in sixth place after five rounds of qualifying, each round consisting of 25 shots at clay discs released from computer controlled machines designed to deliver 10 left, 10 right and 5 straight-away targets to each competitor.
It calls for immense concentration where one’s natural physical and mental instincts have to be in synchronisation with the technique and methodology delivered by modern coaching.
“I am very happy that I could qualify for the Olympics. It is a dream come true for me,” al-Rumaihi said after the competition, which finished as dusk set in.
“It was a tough contest. The Kuwaiti shooters were every strong, the others too. I am proud of my effort,” he added.
Al-Rumaihi’s Polish coach Robert Mlodzianowski was thrilled with al-Rumaihi’s success.
“It was a great effort from Mohamed to come to the final after five tough rounds and then compete in the final in difficult conditions,” said Mlodzianowski.
Mlodzianowski said shooters in Qatar are used to strong desert winds, but the light was a problem.
“It was the fading light that posed a problem. It makes concentration difficult ,” he added.
That probably was the case in the final where al-Rumaihi could only hit 18 targets out of 30. In fact he could only hit one out of his first set of five targets which in the final analysis killed off his chances of finishing on the podium.
Not that anyone was too bothered by it .
“Our aim was to secure as many quota places as possible for the Olympics. With Mohamed’s success we have got one now and we are very happy with that,” said Ali Mohamed al-Kuwari, the President of the Qatar Shooting and Archery Association.
He said with skeet shooter and London Olympics bronze-medallist Nasser al-Attiyah and a few others also in the fray, Qatar was hopeful of winning more spots.
“We are hopeful. Especially, we have high hopes from Nasser,” he added .