Local hero Al-Attiyah, 52, seeking World Cup Final boost in Doha as he eyes Paris 2024

Eleven years after winning Qatar’s fourth ever Olympic medal by finishing third in the men’s skeet, Nasser Al-Attiyah, now 52, is seeking more Games glory in Paris next summer.

This morning the local hero will be among the 17 men taking part in the men’s skeet qualification at the Doha World Cup Final.

Beyond his target at the world-class Lusail Shooting Centre on the outskirts of the Qatar capital lies the broader aim of reaching what would be his seventh Olympics.

After finishing 15th at the 1996 Atlanta Games, Al-Attiyah finished sixth at the 2000 Sydney Games, fourth at the Athens 2004 Olympics and 15th at the Beijing 2008 Games before making the podium in London after beating Russia’s Valeriy Shomin in a shoot-out.

Four years later he was 31st at the Rio Olympics, and despite missing out on the Tokyo 2020 Games he is set on resuming his Olympic career.

Qatar has already earned one Paris 2024 quota place in the men’s skeet thanks to the performance of Al-Attiyah’s team-mate Rashid Saleh Al-Athba at last year’s Shotgun World Championships in Osijek, Croatia.

In the wake of his bronze-medal performance in London, Al-Attiyah was photographed with fellow Qatari Mutaz Barshim, who had finished third in the men’s high jump.

More than a decade later Al-Attiyah has been in the public eye again following his latest triumph in a parallel career of rally driving.

By the time he reached London in 2012 he had already earned his first victory in the Dakar Rally, becoming the first Arab driver to secure that honour.

In January this year he and his co-driver, Mathieu Baumel, earned a fifth Dakar triumph ahead of nine-times world rally champion Sebastian Loeb.

But Al-Attiyah’s sporting focus for the moment is back on shooting, and he retains hopes of seeking to add another Olympic medal to his collection, having earned his 2012 bronze a few months after equallingthe world records of 125 and 150 in the qualification and final respectively at a tournament in Doha.

The determination that earned him his landmark Olympic medal remains.

Recalling his London 2012 success four years after missing a medal by one place, he was quoted by Sport360 as saying: "This time I told myself that I must win the medal -- for my country, for all Arabs."

Earlier this year he told AFP that he still carries hopes of winning another medal in Paris next year, and maybe even emulating Barshim, who shared high jump gold with Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi in Tokyo two years ago.

His exploits on range and roads are already legend in his home country.

"After reading about me, a lot of youngsters want to participate in shooting and racing," said Al-Attiyah, who also became a top class horse rider before dropping out for fear of being prevented from competing in his two other sports through an injury to his hands.

His father, Saleh, set him on the path to both his preferred sports, buying him a Nissan Patrol when he was 18 and also taking him hunting.

Al-Attiyah told ESPN: "My father said Nasser, you are a hunter. If you want to improve, you need to practice clay pigeon.

"’It will help you concentrate and help your mind to be strong'.

"And later when I realised I was getting good at it, I decided to keep shooting."

He believes the two sports complement each other, as he told Qatari website Q Life in 2018: "Juggling between two professional sports and feeling the pressure to be the best in both is very challenging.

"Shooting has helped me excel in rally driving because of the immense concentration needed. It helped me stay mentally strong."

That mental strength will be tested to the full over the next couple of days.

The men’s skeet field includes this year’s world gold, silver and bronze medallists, respectively Efthimios Mitas of Greece, Eetu Kallioinen, Finland’s sole representative in the Final, 2022 world champion Azmy Mehelba of Egypt – and Al-Attiyah’s 36-year-old team-mate and rival Al-Athba



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