RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 11, (Agencies): Veteran Kuwaiti shooter Fehaid Al-Deihani battled wet and blustery conditions to win the men’s double trap event on Wednesday, becoming the first athlete competing under the Olympic flag to ever win a gold medal.
But the 49-year-old, six-time Olympian said he was sad he could not win for Kuwait, banned last year by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Al-Deihani defeated Marco Innocenti of Italy in the duel for gold, nailing 26 orange targets out of 30 to Innocenti’s 24.
The bronze medal went to Steven Scott who defeated fellow Briton Tim Kneale with a perfect score of 30. Clad entirely in black, Al-Deihani pounded his fist on his chest, a gesture he said was to show the Kuwaiti people that “we are here and got the medal.” “I can’t describe my feeling on the podium,” he said of the moment he watched the Olympic flag hoisted up the pole. “I am winning the gold medal, the biggest achievement of the Games, without raising my country’s flag. It really hurts me, I can hardly stop my crying.” The IOC suspended Kuwait in October 2015, accusing the government of interference in its national Olympic Committee.
Earlier this month, Kuwait lost a court case against the IOC ban, meaning Kuwaiti athletes would only be allowed to compete under the Olympic flag. Al-Deihani made sports history for his country in Sydney 2000 when he won bronze in double trap and became the first Kuwaiti of any sport to win a medal at the Olympics. He won another bronze in trap in London 2012. He said that his experience really paid off in the final against Innocenti, himself a three-time Olympian, and knowing he had a medal made him more relaxed. The 37-year-old Italian said he became very emotional when he knew he was going into the last round.
“The conditions were rather difficult, the wind, the rain, and each clay target was different, so you really needed a lot of experience and also a little bit of luck,” said Innocenti, whose family runs an armoury business back home.
Scott said he was more relaxed competing for bronze against his countryman Kneale. “I didn’t want to rub it into my teammate’s face, although just a minute ago he was trying to kick me in the butt, so I am pretty sure he’s okay now,” Scott said.
Meanwhile, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable Thursday, congratulating 49-year-old Kuwaiti shooter Fehaid Al-Deihani on winning the Gold Medal in the men’s double trap competition at the Rio Olympics. Al-Deihani was a member of the Independent Olympic Athletes (IOA) team, winning them the first ever gold medal since the establishment of the team in 1992.
His Highness the Amir stated that this was a huge accomplishment for Al-Deihani, proving the abilities of Kuwaiti athletes to compete and to win medals in the Olympics. High Highness the Amir wished Al-Deihani all the best in future competitions where he will proudly represent the Kuwaiti flag.
His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah also sent cables congratulating Al-Deihani for his outstanding achievement.
National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim on Thursday congratulated Kuwaiti shooter Fehaid Al-Deihani on his victory in the mens’ double trap competition, which garnered him a “Rio 2016” Olympic gold medal. “You have achieved this historic win and proved that nothing is impossible for Kuwaiti youth,” Al-Ghanim said in a cable sent to Al-Deihani. “The sound of your gun is akin to our national anthem,” Al-Ghanim said. Moreover, the Parliament Speaker also described Al-Deihani as an inspiration to all Kuwaiti athletes. The gold medal Kuwait’s shooter Fehaid Al-Deihani won in the 2016 Olympic Games demonstrates competent capabilities of the Kuwaiti youth to challenge hardships facing Kuwaiti sports, said Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah.
Al-Deihani won the gold medal in the men’s double trap competition of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janero on Wednesday, Brazil, defeating Italy’s Marco Innocenti in the final match. This is an unprecedented historical achievement for Kuwait, as the first gold medal for Arabs in Rio 16, Minister Sheikh Salman told KUNA.
This prompts exerting all efforts to support, and promote Kuwaiti sports on all levels, looking ahead to the future, while standing on a solid national ground with full confidence to conquer the impossibility, the minister added.
In spite of the challenges imposed on the Kuwaiti sports, including suspension from international competitions, Kuwait’s youth would not surrender and insisted to take part (in Rio16) under the Olympic flag to prove to the entire world that they are able to represent their country and promote its status, Sheikh Salman said.
The minister stressed pride by Kuwait’s leadership, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, of the Kuwaiti youth and their capabilities of holding the flag of national responsibility for the countrys progress in all fields.
Sheikh Salman congratulated His Highness the Amir, His Highness the Crown Prince and His Highness the Prime Minister, and the Kuwaiti people on the victory, highly appreciating Al-Deihani’s efforts and triumph.
Director General of the Public Authority for Sport (PAS) Sheikh Ahmad Mansour Al-Sabah has lauded the Kuwaiti shooter Fehaid Al-Deihani for winning a gold medal in the men’s double trap competition of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
PAS Director General, in a statement on Thursday, also addressed congratulations to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the political leadership and the people of Kuwait on the unprecedented victory.
He expressed hope Al-Deihani’s accomplishment would pave the way for further sports achievements, in addition to reforming and revamping the sector. Sheikh Ahmad Mansour wished identical success for the other Kuwaiti champions taking part in the international tournament, however, he expressed distress that the Kuwait flag is not being raised during the games.
Al-Deihani had bagged the gold medal, defeating Italy’s Marco Innocenti in the final match. The Kuwaiti champion, competing under the Independent Olympic Athletes banner, completed 28 points to capture the gold, while Innocenti earned the silver with 27 points, and Steven Scott of Great Britain clinched to the bronze with 26 points. It is the third Olympic medal for the veteran Kuwaiti shooter, who has won bronze in the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia, and another bronze in the 2012 Games in London, England.