asian gamesshooting

Dakar Rally champion Al-Attiyah swaps motor for medals at Asian Games

Hangzhou (China) (AFP) – Five-time Dakar Rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah did no training for the Asian Games — and still came away with two medals in shooting.

The 52-year-old all-rounder, already an Asian Games gold medallist in shooting in 2002 and 2010, returned to the podium with a men’s skeet team silver and skeet individual bronze in Hangzhou.

Such is the Qatari’s busy life on the rally circuit that he had no time to pull the trigger in training before arriving in China.

“When I am competing in rally driving, no skeet training. Nothing, zero training,” said Al-Attiyah, who won an Olympic skeet bronze at London in 2012.

“I didn’t do training for the Games. I used my experience and this is why I have two medals here at the Asian Games.”

Al-Attiyah won his fifth Dakar title as a driver and second in a row in January in his Toyota, with more than an hour’s advantage in the overall standings over Frenchman Sebastien Loeb.

He said rallying and shooting were very different, but some skills applied to both.

“Strength, mind strength,” said Al-Attiyah, who shares top billing as Qatar’s most accomplished sportsman with high jump world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim.

“Rallying is very difficult. We are competing at a high level in rallying. It is not easy to rally and shoot at a high level, but every sport helps.”

Al-Attiyah, who once had three sports on the go but dropped horse riding, has competed in every Olympics in skeet shooting since the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

He has his sights set on Paris next year, despite skipping all International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) events in 2022 due to his hectic rallying schedule.

“I am not in the ISSF competitions at the moment because I am also a professional rally driver. I am so busy,” he said.

“The next (Olympic qualification) competition will be in Korea (in October). There are two quota places. I hope to take one to be in Paris.”

Before then he will be back in his car at the Cyprus Rally next week.

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