DESPITE a ranking of sixth going into the finals of the National Sports Council Director’s Trophy Shooting Championships, Selangor’s Tan Tong Tat performed above and beyond the call of duty by securing a top-three finish in the men’s 10m Air Pistol category.
The 17-year-old from Beaconhouse Sri Lethia, Klang, began with a strong showing before his nerves got the better of him and eventually settled with a bronze medal.
“I was nervous and my coach, Felix Ho, calmed me down by talking to me about what to do and what to expect during the competition,” he said.
“The shooters are excellent but I knew I could do better than my recent performances,” he added.
After accumulating 563 points to qualify for the finals, Tong Tat shot his way to another 174.3 points. That effort proved to be more than 20 points shy of silver medallist Eddy Chew, who scored 196.6.
“Jonathan Wong topped the category for the gold medal,” said Tong Tat. “Both Jonathan and Eddy are more experienced shooters than I am and have represented Malaysia on several occasions.
“With this performance and the confidence it has given me, I will now focus more on the preparation for the 14th Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Perlis next May,” he added.
With the championship’s bronze medal and RM100 prize secured, Tong Tat is also focusing on his SPM examinations.
“I was upset that I could not compete in the 37th South-East Asia championship due to the examinations,” he said.
“But I accept that sometimes things like this happen.”
Earlier this year, Tong Tat won a silver medal in 10m Air Pistol and 25m Standard Pistol events, as well as a bronze medal in 25m Rapid Fire Pistol at the fourth Malaysian Junior Shooting Championships.
He also won a gold at the National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) President Ally T.H. Ong Trophy 2013, featuring in the 50m Pistol (Men) Team event.
Tong Tat trains four days a week and around two hours a session.
“I also do mental preparation like visual imagination of the venue and shooting practises to prepare for competition,” he said.