DOHA, Qatar (April 2, 2013) -- The U.S. marksmanship team brought home the bronze in the rifle challenge at the 2013 Qatar Commander-General Shooting Competition, held March 14-18, at the Lusail International Shooting Complex in Doha.
For more than 10 years, the Qatar army has hosted a friendly shooting competition between their elite military units, to include the Qatar army and the military police force.
Maj. A. Naser Ahmed El-Shibah, the shooting wing commander of the Qatar army and head of the marksmanship competition, spoke of how happy he was when the U.S. military arrived in Doha.
"When the Americans arrived here, we were very eager to have them join us," said El-Shibah. "We work together like one Army as they are now part of our family. This competition promotes our relations and shows the world our friendship and the cooperation between both countries."
The competition, comprised of three teams, competed in four challenges: skeet, pistol, trap and rifle.
Team USA lagged behind in three of the four sections, but came back strong capturing the bronze medal for the rifle challenge with U.S. Army Capt. Patrick Nickle of the 79th Military Police Company scoring 572, U.S. Marine Maj. Christopher Fry scoring 571 and U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Hanko scoring 571.
Built to Olympic standards, the Lusail Shooting Complex is the largest shooting facility in the world. It includes indoor and outdoor ranges, archery practice and competition areas, as well as gold winning medalist to coach the participants.
Nurmyrat Hanov, the 1997 pistol-under-fire gold medalist in the 1st West Asian Games, now coaches at Lusail for the Qatar Military Sports Association.
"I work with any group in the competition that needs help. In this particular contest, the military police and the American competitors did not have a coach, so I was happy to offer my assistance. I find the biggest mistake most competitors make is they focus too much on the competition, wanting to make the perfect score and they forget their technique," says Hanov.
U.S. team member and former president of the Kansas State University trap shooting team Staff Sgt. Jacob Burden of the 445th Medical Detachment, Veterinary Service, represented the U.S. Army team in the trap and skeet competition.
"This was an amazing experience," said Burden. "I haven't had many opportunities to compete since college, and coming to Doha to represent the U.S. Army was an awesome experience. The facility here is phenomenal and offers such a great variety of shooting with tier-1 equipment.
"It was a tough competition, but this was a great opportunity for me to try my skill against the best Qatar could offer," he continued. "Many of their team members are internationally renown marksmen and compete at the Olympic level. This has inspired me to continue my training when I return to the U.S."
"Throughout the competition I kept thinking this is something to tell the grandkids when I am old," said Burden. "Shooting is such a good sport. There are no limits on gender, size or physical strength. Anyone can do it."