Qatar shooters have Tokyo on their minds
Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah, Reem Al Sharshani and Nasra Mohammed will be vying for Olympic berths at the Asian Championships.
A berth at the Tokyo Olympics is in the sights of every shooter taking part in 12 of the 88 events at the Asian Shooting Championships, starting in Doha on Monday. Three quota places each are on offer in 10 events while four are available in two events.
Like every other competitor, Qatari shooters too have Tokyo on their minds. Speaking on behalf of the host nation’s shooters was London Olympics bronze medallist in skeet Nasser Al Attiyah.
“All of us are trying to win a berth for the Olympics. It won’t be easy as shooters from other countries too have the same goal. But we’re taking part at home and that should give us an advantage. We will try our best to win a berth,” he said.
The Qatari shooter also touched on the large number of competitors that had congregated for the event.
“It’s amazing to see so many athletes at one event. But that will require us to focus extra hard,” he said.
Reem Al Sharshani, Qatar’s best bet in women’s skeet, said the host nation’s shooters had been training hard for the event.
“A lot of hard work has gone in for this event over the past few months. We’ve taken part in competitions and training camps outside Qatar. A ticket to the Olympics is our goal and while there is pressure since we’re competing at home, we also feel we’ve a chance,” said the 24-year-old.
Reem said her performance at the Military Games in China last month when she shot a national record of 118 in qualifying, would boost her confidence.
“I’ve taken lot of notes from that performance and hope to replicate it here. It’ll be challenging but I’m ready for it,” she said.
Qatar’s pistol shooters also fancied their chances.
Leading Qatar’s charge in pistol events is Nasra Mohammed Mahmoud, who won the gold at the GCC Women’s Games in Kuwait last month. The pistol team coach Marina Solodovnikova admitted the competition would be tough.
“There are some very good shooters from other countries and it’ll not be easy. Our focus will be to get into the final first,” said the coach.
A host of Qatar’s junior shooters will also be taking part. Ali Mohammed Al Kuwari, President of the Qatar Shooting and Archery Association (QSAA) said the exposure would prove beneficial for them.
“They will get the feel of an international competition. They will also observe international shooters and learn from them. They are our shooters of the future and this is a great opportunity for them,” he said.