UAE hit a gold target in 25m pistol event at Arab Games

UAE shooters Sumaya Al Meshaiei, Shamma Al Muhairi and Shaikha Al Rumaithi took silver in the team 25m pistol shoot to help the country move to ninth on the table at the Arab Games in Doha, Qatar.

Malek Abrub of Palestine, left, delivers a blow to Yussef Al Otaini of Qatar in a 54kg taekwondo bout during the 2011 Arab Games in Doha.
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DOHA // The team of Sumaya Al Meshaiei, Shamma Al Muhairi and Shaikha Al Rumaithi won the UAE's first gold medal of the Arab Games on Wednesday in the women's 25m pistol team event. Al Meshaiei also won silver for the UAE in the individual event, with Al Muhairi and Al Rumaithi fourth and fifth, respectively.

Ayecha Al Balooshi added to the Emirates' success with a silver in the women's 58kg weightlifting category, coming just behind Tunisia's Nadia Hosni.

The track and field events at the Games start Thursday at Khalifa Stadium in Doha.

The events are doubling up as a qualifying competition for the 2012 Olympics, which is an added incentive for the 11 UAE athletes taking part.

Omar Al Salfa, the bronze medallist in the 200m at July's Asian Athletics Championships in Japan, is the country's top medal hope. He begins his campaign on Saturday.

Betihem Belayneh and Alia Saeed are in action today in the women's 1,500m final.

Elsewhere, Khalid Yousuf shot Wednesday's best round, a one-over-par 73, as the UAE seized the early lead in the golf competition being played at the Doha Golf Club.

With Ahmed Al Musharrekh (75) and Faris Al Mazroui (84) also contributing to the score, the UAE team carded an impressive combined gross score of 232, taking a one-shot lead over Bahrain (233) after the end of the first round.

Egypt and hosts Qatar were tied for third on 236, three strokes ahead of Morocco in the 72-hole stroke-play event where the three best scores in a team of four are recorded.

Playing solid golf from tee to green, Yousuf created a string of birdie opportunities and could have gone even lower but missed a couple of close-range putts.

"The important thing is that they all combined as a team. And if they can keep the momentum going, they can go the full distance," Chris Vallender, the UAE national coach, said.

"The course is set up nicely and if you putt well you can post good numbers.

"I am pretty pleased the way the boys are striking the ball. The confidence is there and let's see how things shape up over the next three days."

The competition has attracted leading amateur golfers from 10 countries as part of the Arab Games, a regional multi-sport event, which is held every four years since 1953.

The UAE moved up to ninth in the medals table after Wednesday, with nine in total (one gold, four silver and four bronze).