Al Ain 2022: Alaryani’s gold provides fitting finale

South Korea finishes on top of the World Championships medal standings while UAE's Paralympic star clinches second World title in R6 final 17 Nov 2022
UAE's Abdulla Sultan Alaryani strikes a pose with his second gold medal at the Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championships on Thursday.
UAE's Abdulla Sultan Alaryani strikes a pose with his second gold medal at the Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championships on Thursday.
ⒸAlaa Elarnaouty / Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination
By Priyanka Sharma l For World Shooting Para Sport

UAE's Abdulla Sultan Alaryani provided a fitting finale to the Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championships clinching his second title at his home ground with another dominating show in R6 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 final on Thursday (17 November).

In the medal standings, South Korea finished on top with six gold from 20 medals, followed by Ukraine with 13 medals including three gold and Poland with six medals and three gold. Hosts UAE ended in eighth place with two gold from their four medals.

Alaryani, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallist in R7, was a class apart as he led throughout in a thrilling final, overcame strong challenges from his closest rivals including Kasper Hjorth Lousdal of Denmark and Germany’s Tokyo 2020 champion in R3 Natascha Hiltrop before fetching the hosts with their second gold in the championships with a score of 250.5.

All the three athletes were engaged in a three-way battle with Alaryani maintaining the lead even by slightest of margin. In two occasions, it was in fact Hiltrop who snatched the lead before a nine spoiling her run. She eventually finished with bronze with 226.9.

Meanwhile, Hjorth Lousdal displayed immense courage to fightback and stay neck-and-neck with Alaryani before ending with the silver (247.9), his first medal at a World Championships and a quota place for Denmark. The other quota place was earned by Great Britain's Matt Skelhon, who finished fifth on 185.9. 

“I am happy to win my second gold medal here. It’s more challenging win a gold in your home ground as the onus is on you and this adds to the pressure. I am happy to live to the expectation of everyone and give another gold medal to my team UAE,” Alaryani said.

Spiritual Alaryani

Asked how he stays calm in thrilling moments, the UAE Paralympic star added: “I pray a lot and read the Holy Quran. I have also trained [hard] for this championship.”

Having already secured a quota place for UAE in the Paris 2024 Games in Al Ain after his gold medal in R7, Alaryani said he has two jobs now.

First, to train hard himself for the Paris 2024 Paralympics and second, to help his colleagues qualify for the Games. 

“I am also a coach and train my colleagues during their training. I will be helping and guiding them to secure more quotas for UAE,” he added.

In the team championships, Hiltrop alongwith Cliff Unker and Bernhard Fendt took the team gold medal for Germany with a total score of 1844.2, ahead of Ukraine and Korea.

Germany national team coach Rudi Krenn said: "I am incredibly proud that the team has once again succeeded in winning another World Championships title for Germany. All three were very focused and implemented what we developed together as a team. This year, we have worked intensively to achieve the highest possible number of medals in all conditions.”

Turkey dominates

Later, Turkey claimed the one-two position in an amazing P6- mixed 10m air pistol standing mixed team SH1 final. 

Rio 2016 bronze medallist Aysegul Pehlivanlar and Cevat Karagol rallied from 6-12 to equal the scores at 14-all before winning it 16-14 against Kusmus Tahayasin and Ozgan Aysel, the Sydney 2019 Worlds gold medallist, in a thrilling final. 

“We are very happy to win the gold medal. This is a great moment for our team Turkey,” said Pehlivanlar.

The bronze medal was claimed by Korea's Sea Kyun Park and Aeekyung Moon defeating India's Manish Narwal and Rubina Francis, who fought back from 6-10 to 10-all but wasn't enough as they lost 12-16 in the play-off.

As many as 271 athletes from 54 nations competed in 27 medal events at the eight edition of the World Championships in Al Ain. 

All results of the Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championships are available here.

Lima, Peru will host the next edition of the World Championships from 17-29 September 2023.