Posted on February 17, 2018

Twenty Olympic and world championship medallists are among 250 shooters who will be contesting in the eighth Qatar Open in Shotgun 2018 at the Losail Ranges. Many shooters have already landed and took part in the Pre-Event Training (PET) for trap at the world-class shooting facility on Thursday ahead of the two-day trap event.

Qatar's sporting icon Nasser bin Saleh al Thani, who won the bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics skeet, will lead a strong challenge from a big bunch of local shooters. At the moment he is in Russia for the season-opening Baja rally and expected to be return to Doha on time to contest in the skeet event, which is scheduled on February 22, the final day of the event. Qatar Shooting and Archery Association President Ali Mohammed al Kuwari, during a press conference on Thursday, expressed hopes of a high-class shooting spectacle in Doha."Many of the top shotgun shooters in the world are here to fine-tune themselves before the start of the international season. So we hope to have a quality competition in each of the category. After the end of the Qatar Open on February 22, they will fly out to Mexico to figure in the first World Cup."

The $132,000 event will have competitions in Trap, Double Trap and Skeet for both men and women. Junior shooters will also feature in these events with an aim to groom them for the future. The Qatar Open is also quite popular for many of the European shooters because of the cold weather there."We have nice and warm weather here compared to cold and snowy conditions in many parts of the Europe right now. This factor helps us draw a lot of high-profile shooters to our event each year," Kuwari said. The QSAA chief also said,"The stage is set and like the previous years, we're going to witness another edition of close and thrilling shooting here."

When asked about the Qatari shooters, he said,"Our shooters are improving each year. I'm optimistic that they are ready to challenge the big names again and will secure medals as well." He also said that the Qatar Open is helping the sport grow in the country."At many places in the world, people are paying to watch the world and Olympic shooters at the ranges. This is a big learning opportunity for our young fans and shooters to get inspired. I hope there will be a big crown present at the Losail Ranges to see them in action and cheer them."

Tournament Director Antonella Bartolomei said,"Over the years, this event has grown in stature and popularity. Since it is taking place at the beginning of the shooting season, the world's best wish to come and shoot here before launching their international campaigns. "This year again, we've plenty of world and Olympic champions contesting in the 2018 Qatar Open. What makes us very proud of the event is that every year not only those who have shot here before return to contest in various events, new ones also join them," she said.