Skeet Champ Alrashidi (KUW): 49 years, 3 jobs, still winning an planning big
Kuwait's Abdullah Alrashidi won today's Skeet Men final, the closing event of the ISSF World Cup in Nicosia, coming back after 16 years. “But this is just the beginning! I am looking forward to Rio, with my son besides me.”
Abdullah Alrashidi is back. The 49-year old 3-time Wolrd Champion from Kuwait came back atop of an ISSF world cup podium, 16 years after his last victory at the 1997 ISSF World Cup in Seoul.
And the Kuwaiti athlete made it in a thrilling way. Qualifications, semi-final and Gold medal match were indeed not enough to decide the podium placements. Alrashidi first led the qualifications with 123 hits out of 125 targets, and then shot a perfect semi-final with a score of 16 hits out of 16 targets, making it to the Gold medal match.
There, he met the first-time finalist Henrik Jansson, 26, from Sweden. The two finalists shot neck and neck, missing two targets each, ending up tied with a score of 14 hits. A shoot-off was conducted to decide the winner of the match, and it was the experienced Alrashidi who won the tiebreaker, outscoring Jansson 10 to 9 hits.
Spain's Juan Jose Aramburu pocketed the Bronze medal with 16 hits in the Bronze medal match, beating Greece's Efthimios Mitas, who ended up in fourth with 15 hits.
“I made it! I showed everybody that I am not finished. I wanted to show that Alrashidi is still here, and racing for the medals.” The Kuwaiti champion said, wearing the Gold.
“In three months I will turn 50. But I am not becoming 50-year old, I will be 50-year young. I feel full of energies.”
“I have been through difficult years. But now I am back, and I have the next Olympics in my sights.” Said the 49-year old shooter, who participated in six Olympic editions since 1996.
Alrashidi has a busy life: the skeet champion uses to say he's got three jobs. He's a professional shooter, a professional falconer, and a full-time father. How can he cope with that?
“I am a pro shooter. This is my job. This is my life.”
“But besides that, I am also a professional falconer. I train falcons, the best falcons, and I participate in the most important international competitions. And I often win.” Alrashidi said, with a smile on his face.
And then? Then there's the third and most important job of the Kuwaiti champion. “I am coaching my son, Talal. I am putting all my efforts into that. He's talented, and I want him to have all the chances that I did not have at his age. I started shooting when I was 25. He's 20 and he has already became Junior Wolrd Champion two years ago.”
Any chance for father and son to meet in a competition? “Not really, Talal is shooting Trap. I hope that next year he will be able to compete in the senior team. It would be great if we could both secure a quota for the 2016 Olympics and than maybe win something there.” Alrashidi – that in 2016 will be 54 – is planning big.
RESULTS - Skeet Men
1. ALRASHIDI Abdullah
2. JANSSON Henrik
3. ARAMBURU Juan Jose