KANGAR: Penang shooting coach Ivan Jayavenkatesh Rao was feeling proud despite seeing his 12-year Malaysia Games (Sukma) record in the men’s 10m air rifle team event shot down at the Sungai Batu Pahat Shooting Range.
His charges – Ong Choon Shin and brothers Mohammad Ammar and Mohammad Ashraf Izham – combined to gun down 1801 points to take the gold and create a new Games record.
The previous record of 1731 points was set by the Selangor trio of Ivan, Hameleay Mutalib and Wang Weng Chuen at the Sabah Games in 2002.
“The men’s 10m air rifle team record set by Selangor was one of the longest standing shooting marks in Sukma. I had expected the record to fall in Perlis as there is a change to the scoring format, which makes it easier to accumulate more points,” said Ivan.
“But it was a pleasant surprise that it was my boys who shattered the record. They have been shooting consistently to finish among the medallists prior to Sukma and delivered when it mattered most.”
Under the new format for air rifle, the scoring contains decimal points.
Mohammad Ammar, 20, shot 603.2 points while his brother Ashraf, 19, contributed 602.0 and the 19-year-old Choon Shin 595.8.
Their record-breaking feat was remarkable for the fact that Choon Shin’s rifle jammed during competition and he had to leave his shooting position for 20 minutes to get the weapon fixed.
“It was a nervous moment for me when a pellet got stuck inside the rifle,” said Choon Shin.
“I used up 20 of the alloted 90 minutes shooting time to get the rifle fixed. Apart from having less time to shoot, I also left my shooting position and went through the entire process of finding the right shooting lines when I resumed. Luckily, it did not affect our chances of winning the gold medal.”
For brothers Ammar and Ashraf, winning the Sukma gold medal is just reward for their passion in shooting.
“Many years ago, we were jogging at the Penang Botanical Gardens with our parents when we were fascinated by the sound of shotgun being fired from the nearby shooting range,” explained Ammar.
“We pestered our parents to enrol us in the Penang Rifle Club and we’ve been hooked on shooting ever since. Winning the Sukma gold medal and setting the Games record alongside my brother makes the entire journey worthwhile.”
There was also a new record in the men’s 10m air rifle individual event – set by the Federal Territories’ Zul Haziq Rosli.
The Commonwealth Games-bound national shooter gunned down 615.0 points to erase the previous record of 590 set by Malacca’s Azlan Johari in the Negri Sembilan Games in 2004.
The 18-year-old Haziq’s record was also just a single point behind the 616.0 national mark set in March by the Armed Forces’ Mohd Ezuan Nasir Khan.