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Fan favorite skeet shooter Abdullah Al-Rashidi able to celebrate Olympic bronze with Kuwait flag

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Abdullah Al-Rashidi experienced his moment on the Olympic medal stand draped in the Kuwaiti flag after all. 

Al-Rashidi won his second bronze medal in skeet shooting on Monday at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But when he won the first at Rio in 2016 he did so as an independent athlete because Kuwait's national Olympic committee was suspended by the IOC. 

This time he won it as an official athlete competing for Kuwait after the IOC lifted the country's ban in 2019

Al-Rashidi, 58, immediately pulled a flag from his pocket upon medaling and draped it over his left shoulder, kissing the corner and raising his arms while waving to the crowd. 

“I am happy too much to see my Kuwaiti flag and second Olympic medal,” Al-Rashidi told the Associated Press after the final.

Al-Rashidi, a seven-time Olympian, is a fan favorite and was joined in Tokyo by his son, Talal, who competes in men's trap shoot. Qualification in that event takes place on Tuesday. 

Kuwait athlete fan favorite 

Kuwait's Abdullah Al-Rashidi
Bronze medallist Kuwait's Abdullah Alrashidi celebrates on the podium with the Kuwait flag. (Photo by TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2016, Al-Rashidi reached his first Olympic final in six tries. The three-time world champion trains falcons, per the AP, and was cheered on by adoring fans in Brazil while competing independently. One 24-year-old spectator told Reuters he liked the shooter's mustache, and Brazilian students began shouting "bigode," Portuguese for mustache, at him in support. 

He wore an Arsenal jersey during the competition, telling Reuters he didn't know if he was a supporter of the club but rather "just bought it." After winning bronze, he voiced disappointment at seeing the Olympic flag rather than the Kuwait one on the medal stand. 

“Anybody who doesn’t see his flag, he dies,” Rashidi said in 2016, via Reuters. “I need my flag, this is better for me. But what can I do?”

He also missed out on hearing his country's national anthem and stood on the 2016 medal stand with his head down. The Western Asian country of Kuwait was suspended in October 2015 over a sports law that the IOC said interfered with the autonomy of the Olympic movement

Kuwait athletes were provisionally allowed to compete under the flag in August 2018. After Kuwait performed the three steps required by the IOC, it was officially reinstated. 

Winning 2020 bronze under Kuwait flag

Al-Rashidi hit 46 of 60 targets on Monday in Tokyo while competing against athletes half his age. The limited crowd at Asaka Shooting Range again took him in as a favorite, and he reciprocated with waving and fist pumping. 

“Everybody love me because I am old and see me in Olympic Games,” he said, via the AP. 

The United States' Vincent Hancock won gold in men's skeet shooting, a sweep by the Americans as U.S. Army 1st Lt. Amber English also won, and Al-Rashidi even fist-pumped while the U.S. national anthem played. He posed for photos with the Kuwait delegation afterward. 

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