Asian Games: Abdullah Alrashidi's perfect 60/60 at 60
At an age where people can officially retire from their professional jobs in India, Alrashidi, at 60, has earned an Asian Games gold medal.
Abdullah Alrashidi’s name may well ring a bell for shooting fans. Or perhaps even those football fanatics who support Premier League club Arsenal. The Kuwaiti shooter, quite famously, competed in the men’s skeet final of the 2016 Rio Olympics sporting a Gunners jersey while also bagging a bronze.
Well, he is still around and winning medals, even though his Arsenal jersey isn't.
At an age where people can officially retire from their professional jobs in India, Alrashidi, at 60, has earned an Asian Games gold medal, his third after 2010 and 2014. His total score in the men's skeet final in Hangzhou on Wednesday was the exact same number as his age. The perfect 60/60 equalled the world record in the event and set a new Asian Games record. India's Anant Jeet Singh Naruka did an incredible job of matching him shot for shot for much of the final, yet such was the class of the opponent twice his age that the 25-year-old's high score of 58 fetched him a silver.
As the final series ended like every other — clinically shooting down each of the clay discs — for Alrashidi, he turned around with a smile. As his cap accidentally fell while he tried to remove it in his celebratory act, the 60-year-old chose to first bend down and pick it up before lofting his arm. His Kuwaiti teammates then swarmed the smiling sexagenarian with hugs, as did Naruka’s Indian troop.
Naruka, 25, wasn’t even born when Alrashidi turned up for his first Asian Games at the 1994 edition in Hiroshima, where he was part of Kuwait's bronze-medal winning men's skeet team. From picking up shooting in the 1970s during a hunting trip to the desert with his father, Alrashidi became a world champion in skeet for the first time in 1995 and then again in 1997 and 1998.
Two years prior to that, he went for his first Olympics, finishing 42nd at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Alrashidi has been to every Olympics since, including the Tokyo Games in 2021 where he won a bronze. He singles out the most memorable achievement of his marathon career to be the 2016 Rio Games, where the Kuwaiti shooter won his first Olympic medal (also a bronze). Incidentally, his greatest moment of glory would come at a time his country was banned from the Olympics, forcing Alrashidi to compete in Rio and stand on the podium under the IOC flag.
His replacement attire, an Arsenal jersey, generated as much interest, even though the man himself was unaware of all the fuss (or the team’s nickname, Gunners). "It is a shirt my son gave me. He bought it for me and gave it to me for the Olympic Games and I very much like it,” he was quoted as saying in BBC.
Father of four kids, Alrashidi’s son, Talal Alrashidi, is also a professional shooter. He competed in the Tokyo Olympics, where he finished seventh in trap from the same Games his father won the bronze in skeet. Alrashidi now wants to go for gold at the Paris Olympics next year. Going by his exploits in Hangzhou, that isn’t a long shot. Even for a man who turned 60 last month.