For the first time in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), represented by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, will host the Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sports Championships, from November 3 to 17 this year.
The international event will be hosted at the shooting range at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club in Al Ain, organised by Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination.
The historic Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain hosted an event on Wednesday (9 February) to mark the signing of the contract to host and organise the World Championships.
World Shooting Para Sport was represented by the Chairperson of the Sport Technical Committee (STC), Ghislaine Briez, in a ceremony with the presence of His Excellency Abdullah Abdulalee Al Humaidan, Secretary-General of Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination.
The contract was signed by His Excellency Abdullah Ismail Al Kamali, Executive Director of the People of Determination Sector at the organisation, and by Briez. A group of the organisation’s leaders and the International Shooting Committee attended the signing ceremony.
Over a thousand participants are expected at the World Championships, including more than 300 athletes, accompanied by their coaches and delegations, representing more than 50 countries from several continents.
World Shooting Para Sport has proposed that 31 athletes will be eligible to participate in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games based on their performance at Al Ain 2022 – increasing the overall importance of this tournament.
The competition programme will see 27 different medal events including male and female categories and both individual and team competitions. These competitions will range from air pressure pistol and fire and rifle air pressure and fire (.22) across various distances. The tournament will also include for the second time events for vision impaired athletes.
Abdullah Abdulalee Al Humaidan, Secretary-General of Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, praised the support of the UAE government, represented by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE, and his brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
“We welcome the hosting of the World Championships, and we promise the delivery of an exceptional event,” Abdullah Al Humaidan said. “The Emirate of Abu Dhabi, represented by Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, possesses extensive experience gained from hosting regional and international sports tournaments, particularly in shooting Para sport, through the organisation of five World Cups. In previous years, the organisation received a certificate of appreciation and praise from both the participants and the IPC, which resulted in a direct request from the committee's for the organisation to host the first World Championship in the region”.
For her part, Briez expressed her appreciation to the government and people of the UAE, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and to Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination for hosting the competition.
“This year’s tournament will differ from previous events [in Al Ain] as it is the most important competition in the World Shooting Para Sport Calendar in 2022,” Briez said. “We expect a record number of athletes, delegations and countries will participate for the chance to secure qualification for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. This will require a tremendous effort from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to ensure the event’s success.”
PATHWAY TO PARIS 2024
Briez added that World Shooting Para Sport believes the city of Al Ain and the facilities of Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Clubs, will deliver excellence in the organisation of the event.
His Excellency Abdullah Ismail Al Kamali, Executive Director of the People of Determination Sector at Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, said that the hosting of the event marks an opportunity to build upon the unparalleled success of the five previous World Cups hosted in Al Ain and other events for athletes with disabilities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
His Excellency Abdullah Al Kamali added that this major global sporting event for persons with disabilities will include competitions between the world-leading marksmen and women in an effort to qualify for Paris 2024.
“We wish our UAE athletes the very best in this upcoming championship, in the hope that they will be successful in securing their qualification for the Paris Games,” he added.
Al Ain 2022 will be eight edition of the shooting Para sport Worlds. Sydney, Australia hosted the last World Championships in 2019 marking the first time the competition programme combined rifle, pistol and Para trap disciplines.