'Mr Chubby' steals show

Sukma 2004: Negri SembilanMay 28 - Jun 6 

PENANG's “Mr Chubby” Ngiam Yen Chai sure knows how to strike when the iron is hot.  

He pulled off a big upset by dethroning two-time Sukma champion Leong Jia Chyuan of Selangor, winning the individual 25m standard pistol event with a Games record score at the Mantin Range yesterday. 

National junior Jia Chyuan was the heavy favourite to defend his title because he had been unbeaten in the event for the last three years.  

But disaster struck when the Selangor shooter missed the last three shots in the fifth round and lost his lead. 

Jia Chyuan, who set a Sukma record in winning the individual free pistol event on Sunday, was eventually forced into a shoot-out for bronze after tying at 535 with another national junior, Hafiz Adzha of Perak. He ended without a medal, losing 130-132 to Hafiz.  

While Jia Chyuan fumbled, Yen Chai kept his composure to bag his first individual gold medal in Sukma.  

Yen Chai finished with a six-round total of 550 to erase Jia Chyuan's previous record of 548, set in Kota Kinabalu two years ago. Aw Kai Foong of Selangor shot a 541 for the silver. 

The 20-year-old Yen Chai's effort earned him cheers from his teammates, who chaired him after the official results were announced.  

Yen Chai was elated with his performance and was glad that his decision to take study leave for a month to train with the Penang team had paid off. 

“I took my chances well in my pet event. I was the underdog because I had not beaten Jia Chyuan before in a major competition. Breaking the Sukma record is a bonus,” said Yen Chai, who was a silver medallist in the event at the last Games. 

Yen Chai applied for a one-month study leave from Inti College in Nilai to train with the Penang team at the Waterfall Range.  

“I really wanted to do well in my last outing in Sukma. I am glad that everything turned out the way I wanted it to be,” he added.  

Jia Chyuan still had a gold medal to show for the day. He won the team gold along with Kai Foong and Hezir Azmi. The Selangor trio had a total of 1,576 to finish ahead of Penang (1,566) and Pahang (1,537).  

Yen Chai's performance made up for the disappointment in the Penang camp after the girls' 10m air pistol competition earlier. 

Joseline Cheah Lee Yan had been the favourite to shoot down the individual gold medal here but lost on countback. 

Joseline was tied with Perak shooters Nurul Nadiah and Leong Wai Si on 370 points. But Joseline had to settle for bronze because she had the lowest final round score of 89 against a 94 for Nurul and a 92 for Wai Si. 

The efforts of Nurul, Wai Sio and Nur Hazirah Abdul Puthat brought Perak the team gold and a new Games record of 1,099 – five points better than the mark set by Sarawak in 1998.  

Penang won the silver on countback from Pahang. Both teams had a total score of 1,073. 

Pahang's Mohd Firdaus Sidek won the boy's individual 50m free rifle prone gold medal with a score of 587 on countback. Sarawak's Kendy Gijom settled for silver and Loy Yip Chun shot a 586 for the bronze. 

Perak won the gold in the team event with a combined score of 1,736. The silver went to Selangor (1,731) while Sarawak (1,710) secured the bronze. 

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