Sunday, 2 February 2014 | MYT 5:18 PM
Johnathan hopes good start will propel him to glory this year
A file picture of Johnathan Wong Guanjie. He will be making his Commonwealth Games debut this year.
KUALA LUMPUR: It has been an unexpectedly good start to the year for national air pistol shooter Johnathan Wong Guanjie.
And the 22-year-old Malacca-born Johnathan wants to keep the momentum going until July, when he will be making his debut in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Johnathan, who has been lying low for most of his four years in the national team, shot to stardom last month when he qualified on merit for his first Commonwealth Games.
He scored 579 points in the qualifying round en route to winning the gold medal in the men’s 10m air pistol at the Selangor Open Shooting Championships at the Subang Shooting Range.
He did even better than Myanmar SEA Games gold medallist and compatriot Eddy Chew, who managed only a third place.
The breakthrough has whetted his appetite to take his shooting career to greater heights.
“I’m quite excited about making my first appearance in the Commonwealth Games,” said Johnathan, who took up the sport 10 years ago.
“I was very young when my interest in shooting was piqued. It is all thanks to my sister. She took up the sport seriously and I used to just tag along. Now, she has given up but I’m here to stay,” he said.
Johnathan has competed in two SEA Games – 2011 Palembang edition and last year’s Myanmar Games – but he failed to bag any gold medals.
“I did better at the Myanmar SEA Games though. I was a member of the 10m air pistol team who won a bronze medal. I performed much better than in my debut in Palembang. I’m improving by the year.
“All the experience I’ve gained over the years is finally bearing fruit and I hope to take it even further.”
As a challenge to himself in a bid to raise his game, Johnathan is hoping to break the national record in the 10m air pistol under the guidance of his new coach - Zamil Ahmad Murad.
The national record of 580 points was set by Hashim Desa 17 years ago. And Hashim is Johnathan’s former coach.
“I just need to get one more point to erase the old mark. I have a new coach now and, with a more focused training, I’m really looking forward to a great year,” said Johnathan, whose first assignment will be the Higher Learning Institute Games (IPT Games) next week, followed by the opening World Cup leg in Kuwait next month.