Dakar Rally champion aims at podium finish in Rio shooting event

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 3 (IANS) It has been 22 years since Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah’s debut on the international shooting stage, and he is still among the top-level skeet shooters in the world.

It will be Al-Attiyah’s sixth Olympics, and the London Olympics bronze medallist aims at another medal in the coming competition, reports Xinhua.

“Rio will be the sixth time for me (to compete at Olympic Games),” said Al-Attiyah to International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) official website on Tuesday.

“London Olympics was a good memory. I got the bronze medal. I hope I will be top three in Rio,” said Al-Attiyah, 45.

Al-Attiyah was the only Qatari shooter to compete in skeet in Rio. He had no ISSF World Championship title, but he got three Asian Championship golds in hand. In 2012, he equalled the world record by hitting all the 125 targets in Asian Championships.

Shooting isn’t Al-Attiyah’s only sport. He is also a top-level rally driver, a two-time winner of the prestigious Dakar Rally in 2011 and in 2015, with 25 stage wins.

“I just want to find another sport to get improvement for driving,” said Al-Attiyah who started driving much earlier than shooting.

“Shooting helps me a lot for driving. They are opposite. In shooting you have to be calm, more speed with the target, and in driving you must have more concentration,” he explained.

“People in Qatar was so happy to get the medal,” said Al-Attiyah about his 2012 Olympics experience. “Thousands of people were waiting in the airport (for me).”

The Rio Games have yet to open but Al-Attiyah is already talking about the next Olympics in Tokyo where he will compete for the seventh time.

“This will be a record for an athlete,” he said.

–IANS

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