CRESTS and troughs are part of life and Rashid Saleh Hamad Al Athba’s current plight epitomises just that.
In February, everything was going hunky-dory for Rashid after he outwitted his more illustrious rival Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah in the final Asian qualifying event for Rio de Janeiro Olympics, at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi, India.
“There’re many who could never realise their dream of competing in the Olympics. And here, I’m ready for my second outing. Yes, I’m ready for Rio and hope to finish on the podium,” Rashid told Doha Stadium Plus at the time.
But just six months later, after a rather forgettable outing at Rio and a subsequent war of words with the Qatar Shooting and Archery Association (QSAA), Rashid cuts a forlorn figure.
The QSAA ban has literally put the 28-year-old’s career at a crossroads.
“I won’t comment on it now. I don’t have anything to say. I’m just keeping a close tab of the developments. I’ll call you when it’s the right time to talk,” said Rashid in a broken voice when asked to comment on the QSAA decision.
Rashid is not the one who gets bogged down by setbacks. After a disappointing Olympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Games he took a break from the sport.
Though he failed to qualify for the London Games, he returned to the domestic circuit with renewed vigour and the Rio berth was a reward for his hard work and determination.
“Before leaving for India, I saw the spark in his eyes. I’m glad and thrilled that he got it,” Rashid’s coach Ahmed Al Kuwari had said after he earned the berth to Rio.
As Rashid is forced to take a break from the sport a more pragmatic approach from all the parties concerned will be required if Qatar is not to lose out on a precocious talent who can bring laurels to the country one day.