DOHA, February 21, 2016 – Rio Games-bound Anthony Terras of France rode his luck to clinch the Qatar Open Shotgun Championship skeet title, while home hopes Masoud Saleh Hamad and Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah finished in the fifth and sixth place respectively.
In the gold medal shoot-out at the Losail shooting Range, Federico Gonzalo Gil of Argentina wavered at crucial moments, missing three targets in a row and four overall, to hand the Frenchman his first top prize of the year.
The 30-year-old winner from Marseille had missed three himself but Gil fared even badly when all was needed of him was to shoot down one target.
Russia’s Valeriy Shomin won the bronze medal while Saud Abib of Kuwait finished fourth.
The Frenchman, a bronze medal winner at the 2008 Olympic Games, said the win in Qatar has come at a right time ahead of the Rio Games.
“Of course, I am very happy. In 2013, I won the first place in Qatar at the same championship. So it is nice to be back on the Podium,” Terras said during the victory celebrations.
“The competition in Qatar is very interesting for me. I love the shooting range, it is beautiful range. Besides, many good shooters took part in the championship and the shooting season starts with this event for me, so it a good competition to take part.”
The Frenchman said he rode his luck in the final on way to the title.
“I am very lucky, you can finish in the top place or in the fourth place, this is shooting, you have to take your chances. When I missed three targets, it was because of my mistake, not any fault with the wind or the targets changing direction. But, I have no regrets as I have a gold medal in my pocket and that is not bad.
Terras said the Qatar event will help him iron out the shortcoming in his technique ahead of a hectic season.
“Yes it is good to win, its better. The championship will help to study my shortcomings and prepare adequately for the Olympics, so overall it’s not bad to finish on top.”
The skeet winner said there are no special Games plans but he will not be taking part in the World Cup in Turkey “No special preparation for the games and no, I am not taking part in the Cyprus World Cup in Turkey but taking part in another tournament,” Terras added.
Runner-up Gil admitted he lost his focus at crucial stages of the final.
“Yes, I wandered a bit with my concentration, a decision which cost me dearly. The fault laid in me, the level of the targets was very high and I was expecting it to be a bit lower.”
The 27-year-old Argentinean said he will hit the road with his team with preparation for the Rio Games. “This event is a good preparation for us. In the next few days we will have serious preparation for the World Cup, so this silver medal win has been fantastic Earlier, on a day of high drama, Qatar’s Rashid Hamad Saleh Al Athba failed to qualify for the semi-final, losing in the shoot-out to eventually finish in a joint seventh place with Georgios Achilleos of Cyprus.
Qatar’s Rashid said the level of the skeet event was top notch.
“It was a tough competition, much stronger field than Asian qualifying in New Delhi…. It was like a mini world cup with some of the big names were in the field. I am happy with my score of 122. There is still room for improvement. It was a good preparation for the Cyprus World Cup next month. I need to work in a few areas, which I will do in next few days in consultation with my coach,” the 28-year-old said. Last month Rashid won one of the two quotas that Qatar managed to get for the Rio Games at the India qualifying event.
The shoot-out was needed as five shooters, including Qatari trio of Rashid, Nasser, Masoud along with Georgios and Saud Abib of Kuwait, were tied with a score of 122.
Rashid and Georgios missed one of the two targets, to be eliminated, while Nasser, Masoud and Abib made no mistake, to join the trio of Terras, Gil and Shomin, who made the semi-final round with a score of 123.
2012 Olympic Games bronze medal winner Nasser had a scorecard of 12 while compatriot Masoud, a double gold medallist at the 2008 Asian Games shot down 13 targets while Abib missed one target in the shoot-out
In the semi-finals, Terras, Gil and Shomin continued their impressive run to be a tied with a score of 15, prompting yet another shoot-out.
Terras and Gil hit the bulls eye while Shomin, missed out and had to settle for a bronze.
Meanwhile, Nasser, who is aiming to make it to the Rio Games from the two quotas place that Qatar has gained, said in the coming months he will concentrate on shooting while pushing rally driving to the back seat.
“Since 2012, my focus was not on shooting and now after the Asian qualifying in India I am more focused on shooting. I have cancelled all the rally assignments and my entire focus is on Olympics. Till Olympics, I will only race in the Middle East races.”
Nasser was happy that he had made past the qualifying rounds for the first time after the London Games.
“It was a good start for me. As I have not been competing anywhere since London Olympics in shooting events. So it was a good participation for me here. I am happy with my show as I had a good score of 122 and finished sixth overall. So this result is good one ahead of the next month Cyprus World Cup.