While many Gulf states resort to non-native athletes to represent them at sports events and win medals, the United Arab Emirates first Olympic champion was in fact a native of his country. Ahmed Al-Maktoum is a member of the reigning Al-Maktoum dynasty, and a “distant cousin” of the Dubai Emir. He entered the 2000 shooting competitions together with another member of the family, Saeed. Saeed scored the best Olympic result by an UAE athlete (9th), but Ahmed would win the first medal. Al-Maktoum had in fact been more active as a squash player, winning the national title from 1985 to 2000. He started shooting only in 1998, although he had joined his father in falcon hunts from age four. His top result prior to the 2004 Olympics had been a 4th place at the 2003 World Championships in the double trap event. He matched that position in the single trap event in Athens (one shot short of the podium). He was the top qualifier for the double trap final, and only increased his advantage to win the gold while equalling the Olympic Record.
Returning home, he received a hero’s welcome, being welcomed by various members of the Al-Maktoum family, including the UAE NOC president and the crown prince. His fame also spread to India, and not just because he kept Rajyavardhan Rathore from the gold. A small controversy arose when the Indian movie Sarkar mentioned a “Dubai contract killer with an Olympic medal”, which could only refer to Al-Maktoum. The case was dismissed after a personal call with the director.
|Games||Discipline (Sport) / Event||NOC / Team||Pos||Medal||As|
|2000 Summer Olympics||Shooting||UAE||Ahmed Al-Maktoum|
|Trap, Men (Olympic)||=18|
|Double Trap, Men (Olympic)||=23|
|2004 Summer Olympics||Shooting||UAE||Ahmed Al-Maktoum|
|Trap, Men (Olympic)||4|
|Double Trap, Men (Olympic)||1||Gold|
|2008 Summer Olympics||Shooting||UAE||Ahmed Al-Maktoum|
|Trap, Men (Olympic)||30|
|Double Trap, Men (Olympic)||7|