SUBANG: The number of shooters who will get to compete in championships overseas is expected to drop significantly this year with the National Sports Council's (NSC) decision to tighten their purse strings.
There are many Olympic-qualifying events this year but the National Shooting Association of Malaysia's (NSAM) secretary, Jasni Shaari, felt that only about five shooters would be considered for such competitions.
“We hope to have a training squad of about 20 shooters this year but I expect only four or five to receive full funding from the NSC for training and overseas tournaments,” said Jasni.
He added that about RM500,000 was needed each year to cover the expenses of the bigger squad and there was a possibility that the NSC would slash the budget by 50%.
“The NSC are now very selective on who will get to compete abroad, especially in world-class events like the World Cup. Therefore only the very consistent and those with the ability to be among the top eight in their respective disciplines will be considered,” said Jasni.
He added that in measures to cut expenses, the NSC had also not renewed the contracts of three foreign coaches based in Pahang, Kelantan and Penang and more local coaches from the Armed Forces and Police might be seconded to the states to help out.
Jasni felt that the measures taken by the NSC were justified because the current crop of national shooters had not attained Asian and Olympic standards.
“I believe that the NSC will no want to send shooters overseas just to make up the numbers. Reaching the final (top eight) in Asian level competitions is the best our shooters can do for now.
“Most of the funding we get goes to the national shooters' training, equipment, allowance and travel expenses. With not much left for other purposes, we hope state governments can help to develop the sport.”
Jasni added that the NSAM would look into forming a back-up squad of about 10 shooters.
He hoped that the NSC would send the shooters to at least two World Cup events from the five scheduled this year.
“I hope they will get to compete in one meet in South Korea (in July) and one in Europe (Zagreb, Munich or Milan),” he said.
But more Malaysians will certainly get to see action in the Asian Championships, which the country will host in August.