By Abdellaltif Sharaa

KUWAIT: Kuwait started strongly in its competition of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah 9th Annual Shooting Grand Prix by winning three medals Monday including gold, silver and bronze, while Italy topped the medals list with two gold, two silver and one bronze. It was clear competition was tough with the distribution of the first five medals, with Serbia, Czech and UAE joining Kuwait and Italy in competition which indicates the strength of the tournament.

The Olympic archery event (70 meters) saw total Kuwaiti control, as archer Bader Al-Mutairi won gold, while Faisal Sindy won silver and Abdallah Al-Harby won bronze. Meanwhile, the gold medalist in Beijing 2008 Olympics, holder of the Olympic record David Kostelecky won the men’s gold medal by hitting 48 targets in the final round, followed by Italian Emanuele Buccolieri and his teammate Fabio Sollami.

While in the women’s category second place winner of the world championship Italy’s Gaia Razzini won first place by hitting 43 targets while teammate Guilia Grassia took silver and third place went to Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Davydova. UAE’s Ahmad Al-Amiri was upto the challenge and won the 10m air pistol gold medal by scoring 238.7 points followed by Pakistan’s Joseph Gulfam, while the bronze went to Serbia’s Mikec Damir.

Serbia’s shooters won the gold and silver medals of the 10m air rifle as the world champion in 2015 and 2017 Milutin Stefanovic won gold while the silver medal went to Serbic Milenko and the bronze went to Lithuania’s Girulis Karolis. Meanwhile, two gold medals will be distributed today in the skeet event for men and women to start at 9 am while the final rounds will start at 12:45 pm, while the official training of the sporting event.

Archer Abdallah Al-Harby from Kuwait said competition was very strong with the Bahrainis due to having close levels and the point difference was minimal. UAE’s 10m pistol shooter Ahmad Al-Ameeri who won the gold medal said competition was highly competitive adding that his winning the gold medal gives him a strong motive to keep going and make more achievements in upcoming events.

Pistol and air rifle coaches from Serbia said the Grand Prix is the best preparation for their shooters as they get ready for the European Championship to the be held a month from now, and for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, due to its high standard, and the caliber of participating shooters. President of Lithuania federation commended HH the Amir Grand Prix and added that it is at the highest level from all aspects.

He said that he is keen to be present at the 9th Grand Prix as he attended two previous championships and was impressed with the organization. He said the good weather is a main reason for the success of the tournament and this encourages many shooters to be present.