Fourth Islamic Solidarity Games: Abri bags silver; Oman reaches football semis

Ismail al Abri (left) applauds Yusuf Dikec (centre) as Mohammad Ahmad looks on after the 50m pistol event (AFP)

Ismail al Abri added considerable gloss to Oman's campaign at the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan as the sharp shooter claimed a silver medal in the 50m pistol event on Monday. 

Abri's medal win followed the national football team's entry into the semifinals after it played out a 1-1 draw against Algeria. Oman finished second in Group B with five points from one win and two draws, while Algeria topped the pool with seven points.

A day after Oman opened its medal account - courtesy another Omani shooter, Said al Hashmi - Abri impressed in the 50m pistol event as he first qualified as the fourth best with a total score of 549 with a series of 91, 94, 94, 88, 93, 89 in a sizeable field of 22 shooters.

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Oman’s Ismail al Abri in action during his silver medal win on Monday

The other Omani shooters in the event - Muad al Balushi and Jamal al Hattali - failed to advance, finishing 11th and 19th respectively. Only the top eight shooters qualify for the final round.

The title round saw a close contest between Abri and eventual gold medallist Yusuf Dikec of Turkey. Abri collected 220.8 points, while Dikec had 223. Iran's Mohammad Ahmad won the bronze with a score of 200.9.

There was disappointment for the other shooters from Oman. In the mixed team 10m air rifle event, Siham al Hasani and Abdullah al Habsi qualified as the eighth best with a total score of 507.6, but couldn't finish among the top-five in the final round. The other Omani duo of Mohmmed al Hajri and Amina al Tarshi came tenth with a total score of 506.4 among 12 teams, exiting early.

In the 25m standard pistol, Balushi, Hilal al Khatri and Hashmi failed to make a mark as they bowed out in the qualification round. Amina made it to the final round of the 50m rifle 3 position event, but her teammate Siham failed to advance. Amina, though, didn't finish the final round to make a tame exit.

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Action from the Group B match between Oman and Algeria in the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan on Monday

Ghassani’s strikelifts Azzani & Co

Oman's draw against Algeria at the Azal Arena and Palestine's 3-4 loss to Turkey ensured coach Hamad al Azzani's men a spot in the last-four stage of the football competition on Monday.

Oman's goal came five minutes before half-time when leftwinger Salah al Yahyaei provided an inch-perfect assist for Mohsin al Ghassani, who tapped in from close range for his second goal of the Games.

Algeria's equaliser came soon after as Tayeb Meziani, who came on as a substitute for the injured Dhia Eddine Goudjil, flashed in a brilliant effort from inside the penalty area, which sailed past Omani keeper Bilal al Balushi into the top-right corner.

Palestine knew it needed to beat already-eliminated Turkey at the Bayil Arena, irrespective of the result of the Oman-Algeria tie, to have any hopes of advancing.

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