Dakar rally champ shoots Olympic bronze

Aug 01, 2012, 08:13 IST | AFP

Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah picked up the Arab world's first medal of the London Games yesterday when he shot a bronze in the men's skeet event at the Royal Artillery Barracks

Interestingly, whenever the 41-year-old is not holding his rifle, he’s seen manning the steering of his race car. The professional rally driver won last year’s Dakar Rally for Volkswagen in 2011, and has driven a semi-works Citroen DS3 WRC this season, Yesterday, Al-Attiyah claimed third spot after beating Russia’s Valeriy Shomin 6-5 in a nail-biting shootout. Finishing on the same score — 144 — at the end of five rounds, Al-Attiyah beat Shomin in the subsequent sudden death shoot-out.

Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiya celebrates after winning bronze in the men’s skeet shooting  event yesterday. PIC/Getty Images 

US Army sergeant Vince Hancock retained his Beijing 2008 title with a score of 148, two short of the world record mark of 150 he had set at the 2007 World Championships. Denmark’s Anders Golding took silver.

Al-Attiyah reached the final after qualifying fourth earlier in the day. UAE’s flag-bearer Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum failed the make the finals having qualified in 13th spot.

Al-Attiyah is a double gold medalist in the Asian Games (2002 & 2010). His bronze is Qatar’s third ever at the Olympics and first since Said Saif Asaad also won third place in the weightlifting at the 2000 Sydney Games. Al-Attiyah, a Citroen World Rally Championship driver, was inevitably mobbed by members of the Qatar Olympic entourage after his win. “I feel really fantastic for me because I’ve been waiting for this medal for five Olympics. I’ve been in the final two times and in Athens (2004) I had a shoot-off for bronze medal and I lost,” he said.

Al-Attiyah, who won the Dakar Rally for Volkswagen in 2011, and has also driven a semi-works Citroen DS3 WRC this season.

Al-Attiyah also won the skeet gold in this year’s Asian championships in Doha after he quit the 2012 Dakar Rally.

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