- Top shooters touted as future Olympians
- 2500 contestants competed for 4 days
Dubai, 18th March 2018: An Emirati woman grabbed first place at the 18th Fazza Open Championship for Shooting (Saktoun Rifle) after seeing tough competition from veteran rifle shooters in the region and overcoming windy condition on Saturday at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Shooting Range in Ruwayyah, Dubai.
The competition, organized and supervised by the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) for locals, residents and GCC nationals, was held for four consecutive days and saw the participation of around 2,500 contestants vying for big prizes, including 4X4 cars and huge cash incentives, plus the privilege of bringing honour to their respective countries.
Maj. Gen. Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Chairman of the Planning Committee of the National Olympics Committee; HE Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook, CEO of HHC; Brig. Gen. Mohammed Obaid Al Muhairi, Chairman of the Fazza Shooting Committee- Saktoun; and other leading officials from HHC attended the championship.
Pride of the UAE
Emirati woman Azza Al-Deri waved high the UAE banner with her first place finish in the Women's Open Division after scoring a near perfect 78 points (out of 80) in the finals, ahead of Omani shooter Awatif Bint Khamis, who came in second place with 75 points and Aisha Bint Saif Al-Derai, who also scored 75 points.
Al-Deri dedicated her victory to the men and women of the UAE. “I'm very happy to win the title and I thank my mother, who is also a shooter, for inspiring me. Big thanks also to my coach for advising to adjust my rifle at the last minute because of the strong winds and I was able to get the right shooting angle,” she said.
“I hope my victory will serve as an inspiration to Emirati girls to take sports and bring honour to our country,” she added.
Perennial contestants from the Sultanate of Oman also howed their dominance in the heritage sport. Al-Kathiri won the first place in the Men's Open Category after garnering 78 points. He was followed by Abdullah Al-Kathiri and Faisal Al- Kathiri, who finished in second and third places respectively.
In the Youth Category, Omani shooter, Abdullah bin Khamis Al-Muqbali, won first place with 78 points in the boys division while 10-year-old Mooza Rashid AlKaabi, also from Oman, finished first place in the girls division with 76 points.
In the Elderly category, Muslim Bin Bakheet from Oman had 79 points and finished strong in first place.
The day was concluded by men's double plate shooting where Omani marksmen Ghalib Bin Salim and Younis al-Hadrami finished in place after a grueling and exciting showdown with their compatriots.
Onwards to Olympic glory
Maj. Gen. Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Chairman of the Planning Committee of the National Olympics Committee, was impressed with this year's level of competition and said that the tournament is a good staging ground for future Olympians.
“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.
“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,” he added.
“Moreover, this tournament is not just for the development of sports but also for preserving our rich Arab heritage and fostering bonding within families and communities. Saktoun is not just a sport, we are bringing families together and we are welcoming various cultures who enjoy the sport,” Al Raisi emphasised.
Right on the mark for preserving Emirati heritage
For her part, Ms. Suad Ibrahim Darwish, Director of Championships at HHC, said: 'Fazza Open Championship for Shooting goes in strength from year to year. This year's edition is also memorable especially after the UAE women's victory came in the midst of tough competition. We congratulate all the shooters and winner who came from different countries in the region and also various expatriates in the UAE
She noted that the record 2,500 participants is strong testament to the popularity of the tournament. “This is a result of the trust of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, placed in us and for his continuous support for heritage and sport.”
“We are reinforcing our national identity while at the same time promoting diversity and welcoming various cultures,” she added.
The official sponsors of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center are: Al Tayer Motors Land Rover, Dubai Airports, Dubai World Trade Centre, AW Rostamani (Arabian Automobiles), Global Village and Al Oula radio station.
Al Saktoun Rife is a traditional weapon renowned for its accuracy and used in the past by tribesmen for fishing and hunting, as well as during war.