Timeframe: When the UAE won its first Olympic gold medal

Sheikh Ahmed bin Hasher topped the podium when he won the double trap competition in Athens

Sheikh Ahmed bin Hasher, centre, won the gold medal in the men's double trap event at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Getty Images
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The UAE won its first Olympic gold medal 19 years ago this month.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Hasher, a sharpshooter, earned the accolade in the men’s double trap competition at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

In the shotgun-shooting sport, contestants aim to break clay discs that are fired into the air at rapid speeds. As opposed to traditional trap shooting, double trap features two clay discs being hurled simultaneously. Shooters stand 14.6m from the apparatus that fires the clay targets and are allowed one shot at each disc.

The men’s double trap competition at the 2004 Summer Olympics comprised two rounds. The top six contestants of the qualifying segment moved on to the final round. Besides the UAE, shooters from Sweden, China, Germany and India took part in the final.

China’s Wang Cheng won the bronze medal and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from India was awarded the silver.

Sheikh Ahmed’s gold medal win is particularly remarkable, given that he had only taken up the sport when he was 34, seven years before the 2004 Summer Olympics. The first Summer Olympics he took part in were in 2000. After becoming a gold medallist, he took part again in 2008. But because of a heart condition, he was forced to sit out the 2012 London Olympics and retired from the sport. However, he coached English sport shooter Peter Wilson, who secured the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics.

Sheikh Ahmed is still the only Emirati athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics. The country earned a bronze in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro through Moldovan-born Emirati judoka Sergiu Toma in the the 81kg judo category, when he beat Italy’s Matteo Marconcini for the third medal.

Updated: August 11, 2023, 6:01 PM