Egyptian shooter Azmy Mehelba takes aim at a medal in Rio 2016

Mahmoud Elassal , Thursday 11 Aug 2016

Azmy is currently ranked world number two by the International Shooting Sport Federation

Azmy Mehelba
Azmy Mehelba (M) lifts the trophy in Fazz'a Italian Green Cup (Photo: the shooter's facebook account)

Egypt's skeet shooting star Azmy Mehelba is the first Egyptian to book a place at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games after winning the bronze medal at the Spain World Championship two months ago.

Mehelba, ranked world number two by the International Shooting Sport Federation, has scored 125 out of 125 in the Italy's skeet shooting Grand Prix earlier in 2016; a record achieved only six times before.

The 25-year-old Mehelba started his career as an amateur shooter in 2002, four years before turning professional at age 16.

He made his first appearance at the 2007 World Championship in Cyprus, where he placed sixth before moving back to 30th place in the 2009 edition in Bulgaria.

Mehelba started playing in the senior games alongside the youth games in 2010, placing 26th in the World Shooting Championship in 2009 in Cairo. He then joined the Youth World Championship in Germany in the same year, where he placed eighth.

Mehelba enjoyed his first gold medal in 2011 at the African Championship in Morocco at 19 years old, qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games where he placed 36th.

Season of glory

Mehelba's international numbers improved after Italian shooting coach Diego Gasperini started training the Egyptian star in 2013.

In 2014, Mehelba won the African Shooting Championship in Cairo and won the gold medal at the World Grand Prix in Kuwait.

He won the bronze medal at the World Championship in Spain after beating American shooter and Olympic athlete Vincent Hancock, who won the gold medal in the men's skeet at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

The Egyptian shooter became the first Egyptian and African athlete to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games after winning the silver medal at the World Championship in Azerbaijan in September 2015.

This will be his second-ever Olympics appearance, as he participated in London’s 2012 Olympic Games where he returned home empty-handed.

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