World Para Championships: Home-grown archers aim for improved show


Gholam Rahiminia and Mohammed Alshehhi are competing in the men’s compound open.

Home-grown archers Gholam Rahiminia and Mohammed Alshehhi were equally thrilled and nervous as they prepare for the Dubai 2022 World Para Archery Championships, which will kick off with the qualification rounds on Tuesday.

Rahiminia and Alshehhi along with Habib Albaloushi, all competing in the men’s compound open, complete the hosts’ team for the Championships which will have 223 para-archers (compound, recurve, wheelchair and visually impaired) from 40 countries vying for glory this week.

For both Rahiminia and Alshehhi, who trains at the Dubai Club for People of Determination, this will be their second major championships event after Beijing 2017 World Championships. They have been regular at the Fazza World Ranking Championships in Dubai.

“We are very excited and hoping to get a good result at the Championships here. We have trained hard for the last three months with a new coach. Insha’Allah (if God wills), we hope to shoot well this week,” said Rahiminia, who competed in Para Powerlifting between 1997 and 2012 and also represented UAE in Sydney 2000 Paralympics.

“Training and more training,” added the 49-year-old Rahiminia on the training regime with their new Lativian coach Elena for the last three months. “The body feels good and we are aiming to get scores of 680.”

Alshehhi, who took part in Para Athletics for four years before switching to archery, believes that they need to train more and take foreign exposure trips for better skills and technique.

Paralympic stars in action

Paralympic and Worlds medallists Czech Republic’s David Drahonínský and Bahattin Hekimoğlu from Turkey (compound men-W1), Iran’s Rahimi Gholamreza and India’s Harvinder Singh (recurve men), Jessica Stretton (compound women) and Elisabetta Mijno (recurve women) are among the ones to watch out for during the week.

Defending champions Ben Thompson from USA (compound men), Singapore’s Nur Syahidah Alim (compound women), Ruben Vanhollebeke of Belgium (visually impaired) all have gathered here this week.

The Championships, which has been postponed owing to Covid 19 Pandemic last year, mark the first international para-archery event since the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Sixteen world champions in four categories (Compound Open, Recurve Open, W1 (M/W) and Visually Impaired) will be crowned in Dubai.

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