The 18th Fazza Open Championship for Shooting – Saktoun Rifle brought the talent of Emirati girls to the fore on Saturday, March 17th at the Hamdan Heritage Centre (HHC) shooting range in Ruwayyah.
Emirati shooter Azza Al-Deri finished first place in the Women’s Open Division after scoring a near-perfect 78 points out of a total of 80 in the finals.
Omani shooter, Awatif Bint Khamis came in second place with 75 points and Aisha Bint Saif Al-Derai placed third, who also scored 75 points.
The tournament attracted a staggering 2,500 participants from all over UAE and the GCC, with big prizes up for grabs that included 4X4’s and huge cash rewards.
Charlotte Sarrazin and Anne-Laure Laine, seasoned participants of the HHC Camel Trek, also competed in the championship.
This was Charlotte’s second time participating in the tournament and this time around, she actually made it to the semi-finals and claimed that her training from last year came in very handy for this year.
“I was here last year for the championship, but I didn’t perform that well. Usually, the top 22 contestants move to the next round and this time I have qualified until the semi-finals, so it’s a huge improvement on my part,” she said.
From the training to the shooting, there are several challenging elements in the sport that Charlotte described to Sport360.
“We are given 12 rounds and there are six targets altogether, out of which the top two are just for practice and adjusting the front and rear sight. Once that is done, we have to hit the remaining four targets twice and we only have eight minutes to do all of this. Adjusting the focus is the hardest part, especially since the rifle is also used by other contestants who adjust the iron sights as per their convenience. This is why the aim during the last couple of rounds is always the best,” Charlotte explained.
“We are given points out of a total of 80, but some girls are so good that they often end up getting the same score, so the ranks are decided according to the number of times the shooter has hit bullseye.”
Both Charlotte and Anne loved taking part in the sport and it filled them with even greater love and appreciation for the Emirati culture, which had already been inculcated in them by the annual Camel Treks.
The turnout of this year’s competition drew the attention of the Chairman of the Planning Committee of the National Olympics Committee, Maj. Gen. Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, who believes that such competitions provide a good platform for future Olympians to further hone their talents.
“We are discovering new talents and I would like to call on the attention of the shooting federation to develop the skills of our local shooters who have a bright future of reaching the Olympics,” he said.
He further added: “I congratulate the HHC and everyone behind Fazza Open Championship for Shooting for organising this annual tournament. We know that some of best shooters started in traditional shooting and we are giving them the experience.”
Saktoun Rifle shooting is not just a sport, but an important part of Emirati heritage that the HHC has been trying to preserve and promote to strengthen national identity of the UAE.
Outstanding athletes from over 32 countries competed on the opening day of the Special Olympics IX MENA Games in Abu Dhabi.
Dignitaries and honored guests handed out gold, silver and bronze medals as well as participation medals to the athletes as their friends, family and compatriots cheered and applauded.
The UAE topped the medals charts in cycling winning a total of six in a series of races held at the Yas Marina Circuit, including golds in Divisions 2 and 4 of the men’s 5km time trial.
More than 20 Special Olympians from eight countries strapped on their roller skates to compete in the 30m straight line, 100m, 300m and 2x100m relay races.
At the awards ceremony, Emirati Khalifa Ahmed Alamiri proudly wore his tally of three medals in roller-skating around his neck.
Aya Esmail from Syria, Tinhinane Tamzait from Algeria and Seyed Saeid Eilali from Iran won Gold in Divisions 1, 2 and 3 respectively in the 30m straight line.
A series of exciting 300m races saw Emiratis Aysha Alnuaimi and Sayah Alhabash, Egyptians Shahd Nasser Soliman and Sherif Mohamed Abdelhamid Nada, and Jordanians Abdallah Alnahhas and Yousef Yousef all take home gold medals for claiming victory in their divisions.
Aya Esmail from Syria, a winners in one of the 30m straight line races, said: “I have been practicing for the last year with my coach to be part of this wonderful game and that hard work has paid off today.”
Syrian Nejmeh Al Amouri was making her debut in the powerlifting competition. The 16-year-old athlete won a silver medal for squat lifting 60kg in division F2.
In athletics, Egyptian Aya Salah Abdulrahman celebrated winning a gold medal in the 200 meters Division 3.
More than 1,000 athletes from 32 countries have travelled to Abu Dhabi to take part in MENA IX Games, which is the first major sporting event ahead of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the 9th Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Games kicked off in Abu Dhabi.
H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, attended the launching ceremony at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, and described the Games as “a global event that buttresses the UAE’s prestigious standing in the sports and humanitarian domains.”
“The Emirates’ hosting of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is a dear dream cherished and supported by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed from the very beginning until it has become true in the Year of Zayed,” Sheikh Hazza said.
“You are a source of inspiration and determination for overcoming challenges and surviving headwinds,” he said to People of Determination.
Thousands of people attended the opening ceremony onsite, with millions following it live on Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, watching how the event truly resonates with the values of tolerance, solidarity and peaceful coexistence deeply cherished by the UAE leadership.
The ceremony opened with the National Anthem and a video titled “Welcome to Our City”, followed by shots showing the arrival of more than 1,000 athletes from 31 countries into the pitch in an impressive musical spectacle that was greatly received by the audience, who then listened to two speeches by Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Member of the Special Olympics Board of Directors, and Engineer Ayman Abdul Wahab, President and Managing Director of the Middle East and North Africa Region of Special Olympics. The event was officially launched when the Special Olympics Flag was ushered into ADNEC with representatives of participating coaches and players reading the Olympics’ official oath.
This was followed a video displaying the Olympic Flame Tour which was conducted over the past few days.
Addressing ceremony, Hessa Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, spoke high of the role played by late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in sowing the seeds of fraternity and solidarity between different segments of society, affirming that the UAE leadership is staunchly committed to this drive of social cohesiveness and to engaging People of Determination into the society.”
“We are determined to keep developing more initiatives conducive to building a more comprehensive world and ensure that our national policy enables all segments of society to unleash their potential regardless of their physical abilities,” the minister said.
Athletes from 31 countries are taking part in the games which is considered the largest such event ahead of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 .
The event will see the participants vying in 16 different games hosted in eight different venues: ADNIC, Zayed Sports City, Yas Marina Circuit, New York University Abu Dhabi, Officers Club, Mubadala Arena, Al Jazeera Sports Club, and Al Forsan Club. Entrance is open for all.
Attending the opening as well were H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation and President of the UAE National Olympic Committee, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Supreme Committee for the Protection of the Rights of People of Determination, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, Sheikha Sheikha Al-Abdullah Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, the Honorary Chairperson of Kuwaiti Disabled Sports Club, and a number of ministers and top executives.
Provided by WAM