The Qatar Shooting and Archery Association refutes Rashid Saleh Hamad Al Athba’s claim about the lack of a long-term planning.
The two-time Olympian banned from competing till further notice
After the Rio Games, post-mortem has started. Qatar sent their largest contingent of 38 athletes to the quadrennial extravaganza, but had to be content with Mutaz Essa Barshim’s silver medal in high jump.
Shooting was one discipline where Qatar had high hopes, with Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah and Rashid Saleh Hamad Al Athba having qualified for the skeet event.
Much was expected from Nasser, the London Games bronze medallist, who was competing in his sixth Games. Rashid, who impressed in the final Asian Zone qualifying event in New Delhi, India, in February, where he outshone his more illustrious rival, was also expected to put up a decent show in Brazil.
But both of them disappointed.
Nasser missed 14 targets to finish 31st among the 32 competitors. Rashid, who was competing in his second Games after 2008 Beijing, brought up the rear after missing 16 shots.
The ordeal did not end there. In a media interaction in the aftermath of the Rio fiasco, Rashid gave vent to his feelings and trained the guns on the Qatar Shooting and Archery Association (QSAA), saying it did not back him enough.
Rashid’s contention was that the QSAA did not have any long-term planning as a result of which he was under-prepared for Rio.
Taking umbrage at Rashid’s broadside, the QSAA decided to ban the two-time Olympian from competing in any events till further notice.
QSAA President Mohammed bin Ali Al Ghanim Al Maadeed justified the rationale behind the decision.
“Rashid put the blame on the federation for his poor showing in Rio and his allegations are totally baseless. He says we didn’t have long-term planning whereas the truth is that we had a programme charted for him even before he gained the Olympic quota,” said Al Maadeed.
The QSAA chief dwelled further.
“After the Rio Games debacle, we had an evaluation meeting at the Losail Shooting Range attended by all Board members and we came to the conclusion that Rashid shouldn’t have passed the buck on us for his poor show. He was given a chance to explain his version, but he didn’t turn up. Contrary to what he said in media, we had a specific training programme for him.
“He had attended four training camps and competed in eight events before heading for the Olympic qualifiers in India. And after he clinched the Rio berth, we sent him to four training camps and he competed in six events. So where does the question of ‘lack of long-term planning come from?” he asked.
Al Maadeed also hinted that change of gun at the last moment could have dented Rashid’s prospects.
“Rashid changed the gun just a month before the Games and that could’ve affected his momentum. Usually, it takes a while to get used to a new one,” Al Maadeed concluded.