Zunaira Zakaria in a file photo. She won a bronze in the girls’ 25m pistol at the Second Malaysian Junior Shooting Championships at the Subang Shooting Range in February.
KANGAR: Sometimes, all you need is a big-game feeling to turn your season around.
And Selangor shooter Zunaira Zakaria is hoping the 17th Sukma (Malaysia Games), which starts on Saturday, will be just that as she seeks to kick her season into high gear.
Zunaira has had a quiet year so far, winning a bronze in the girls’ 25m pistol at the Second Malaysian Junior Shooting Championships at the Subang Shooting Range in February.
She also finished eighth in the women’s 25m pistol at the Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy in February and sixth in the women’s 10m air pistol at the Tun Hanif Trophy last month.
It pales in comparison to her scintillating form last year, when she won gold in the girls’ 25m pistol event at both the South-East Asia Shooting Association (SEASA) Championships (Subang Shooting Range in November) and Fifth Malaysian Junior Shooting Championships (same venue in October) as well as a silver in the women’s 25m pistol at the Selangor Shooting Championships (same venue in February).
“I’m 80% ready but I don’t want to think too much about the competition. I don’t want to put unnecessary pressure and psyche myself out before competition day. I’d rather just go out there and do my best for my state and family,” said the 18-year-old Zunaira, who is appearing in her second consecutive Sukma.
At the 2012 edition in Kuantan, Zunaira bagged four medals – two golds (women’s 10m air pistol team and 25m pistol team event), one silver (women’s 25 pistol) and one bronze (women’s 10m air pistol).
“Of course, it’ll be great to repeat that performance or go one better, but I can’t say much ... I’m still in preparation mode,” said Zunaira, who is pursuing pre-university studies at the Bukit Jalil Sports School.
“Overall, if I look at how I’ve performed, I’m not quite satisfied with my performances in the 25m pistol this year. I think I’m doing okay in the 10m (air pistol), but there is always room for improvement.”
Zunaira, who picked up shooting four years ago, has been under the tutelage of state coach Felix Ho since January last year.
“Coach Felix has given me and the other shooters targets to achieve in terms of winning medals and I’ll try my very best to deliver,” she said.