Fehaid al-Deehani: Man who refused to carry IOC flag, wins gold for Kuwait
Kuwait’s Fehaid al-Deehani, competing at the Rio Games as an independent athlete, won men’s double trap gold on Wednesday.
Marco Innocenti of Italy took silver with British shooter Steven Scott claiming the bronze.
Al-Deehani, bronze medallist in Sydney and London, was forced to take part in Brazil as a neutral as Kuwait is suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over government interference in sport.
The army officer, at his sixth Games, is one of nine competing as an Independent Olympic Athlete (IOA).
The winner of Kuwait’s only two previous Olympic medals is the first independent to win gold at an Olympics.
“In the final God gave me the will to win. This is my day - it means everything (to Kuwait),” said al-Deehani, who had rejected an offer from the IOC to carry the neutral flag at last Friday’s opening ceremony,
He told Kuwaiti media at the time: “I am a military man and I will only carry the Kuwait flag.
“I cannot carry the IOC flag.”
Rain and wind added a tricky dimension to the final. “It was very difficult to shoot here,” reported Innocenti.
Scott, who beat his fellow Briton Tim Kneale in the bronze shoot-off, agreed. “The weather is certainly not what it has been in Rio the past few weeks...it wasn’t easy today.”
One man though shone in the murky conditions. “It was very tough today, but I was able to come through,” smiled al-Deehani.