SEA Games: Poor development cited for lack of firepower

Olympian Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi could not compete against much younger and less experienced shooters from Indonesia and Singapore in the 10m air rifle event. — Bernama pic
Olympian Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi could not compete against much younger and less experienced shooters from Indonesia and Singapore in the 10m air rifle event. — Bernama pic

MANILA, Dec 3 — The national shooting squad seem to be slipping further behind their regional peers and this has been blamed on the lack of development programmes.

After a bland performance at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, the squad continued to be outgunned by their opponents at the 30th SEA Games here.

After two days of the shooting competition, Malaysia have won just one bronze, through Jantan Hintu in the 1500 Precision Pistol Competition (PPC) yesterday.

In today’s event, Olympian Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi could not compete against much younger and less experienced shooters from Indonesia and Singapore in the 10m air rifle event at the Marine Corps Training Centre.

After qualifying for the finals, Nur Suryani finished in eighth place with 120.9 points and was the first to be eliminated.

Under the competition format, in the final round the shooter with the lowest score will be eliminated until the gold medal winner is determined.

The event was won by 18-year-old Vidya Rafika Rahmatan Toyyiba from Indonesia with 249.9 points, while the silver and bronze medals went to Singapore’s Ho Xiu Yi, 19, and Qian Xiu Adele Tan, 20, with 248.2 and 227.3 points respectively.

Nur Suryani, 37, who gained international media attention at the 2012 London Olympics when she was eight months pregnant, did not deny that the lack of preparation and development programmes had caused the slump in the national squad’s performance.

“My performance today was not as what I expected because I knew I could do better. Sometimes, we do not necessarily get what we want but I strive until the end.

“Indeed we are lagging behind in terms of training and tactics, especially for this year after the Subang National Shooting Range (the venue for training and competition) was closed.

“We have lost a lot of local tournaments. If I’m not mistaken, in July there was only one local tournament. These are some of the factors that affect our performance, but athletes are also responsible for their performance,” she told Bernama.

The Subang National Shooting Range was closed for nine months beginning September 2018 to upgrade its safety aspect after an incident where a teenager committed suicide with a firearm.

Asked on her plans after the SEA Games, Nur Suryani cynically said she wanted to get pregnant because no tournaments have been lined up for her.

For the record, besides a silver and a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, Nur Suryani has also won two gold, three silver and three bronze medals at the SEA Games since 2011.

Team manager Datuk Musa Omar said Malaysia should have pressed the panic button earlier as other countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia have moved ahead with their good development programmes.

However, he is confident that the national squad can still achieve their target of two golds from the remaining six events, namely the women’s PPC individual and team, mixed 10m air rifle, men’s and women’s 10m air pistol and men’s trap (shotgun). — Bernama

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