Dubai, February 28, 2021: A total of 48 shooters representing 24 teams competed in the qualifiers and final of Plate Shooting for Emiratis at the Fazza Championship for Shooting–Saktoun Rifle, organised by the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC), over the weekend at Fazza Shooting Range in Al Ruwayyah.

Saktoun rifle shooting is more than a sport, but an important part of Emirati heritage that the HHC has been promoting to strengthen national identity of the UAE. Participants competed using Saktoun, a long rifle traditionally used in the past for hunting.

The category Plate Shooting for UAE Nationals saw the duo of Khalid bin Ayesh and Ayesh bin Ayesh winning first place; while Muhammad al-Kaabi and Hamid Khasif came in second spot; and Saeed Shakhbout and Saqr Fahm came in third.

The winners were crowned by H.E. Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook, CEO of HHC; Brigadier Mohammed Obaid Al Muhairi, Head of the Fazza Shooting Committee- Saktoun; and Lieutenant Colonel Khalifa Obaid Al Suwaidi, deputy in charge of the organising committee. 

Plate Shooting is one of the five categories of the Saktoun Championship. Taking place in the coming the days are: March 2 (Tuesday) – Women’s finals (UAE nationals Championship); March 3 (Wednesday) – Men’s final (UAE nationals Championship); March 6 (Saturday) Plate Shooting-Open Championship; March 9 (Tuesday) Women’s finals-Open Championship; March 10 (Wednesday) Men’s finals-Open Championship. 

High level sportsmanship

Lieutenant-Colonel Khalifa Obaid Al Suwaidi, deputy in charge of the organising committee, praised the high-level sportsmanship shown by the competitors. He noted the development of sport contributes highly in preserving the rich Arab heritage and fostering the bond 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,” he underlined.

Al Suwaidi also noted preventive measures against COVID-19 werestrictly observed. The competition has started early in December, with only 15 shooters per day during the qualifiers that lasted for about three months. The distance between competitors was also set at 4 to 5 metres.

Focus is the key to success

First place winners Khaled and Ayesh bin Ayesh, who came from Ras Al Khaimah, expressed their happiness with their achievement. This was the first time the duo won in the tournament.

Khaled bin Ayesh said: “We formed our team only a week ago, as each of us used to participate individually in the competition, but this time we cooperated together in the Plate Shooting, and we did continuous training. Focus is the key to our success.”  

Meanwhile, Muhammad Obaid Al Kaabi, who achieved second place with his cousin Hamid Khasif, expressed his satisfaction reaching the podium even if achieving the second place. He said: “This was our second participation, we did not succeed in winning a place last time, but this time we managed to reach the final and won second place. We thank the organisers of the tournament for creating a healthy competition despite the threat of the pandemic.”