PETALING JAYA: Juniors Mariani Rafali and Nasreena Nazaruddin will have to wait longer to feature in the Asian Games.
The duo have been dropped from the list of seven women rifle shooters recommended for the Asian Games in Doha from Dec 1-15.
The duo returned with the national rifle and pistol shooting team after a one-month training stint in Russia on Tuesday.
The five women rifle shooters selected for the Asian Games are Manila SEA Games gold medallist Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, Nurul Hudda Baharin, Nordalilah Abu Bakar, Cynthia Karen Leong and Muslifah Zulkifli.
Of the five, Nur Suryani, Cynthia and Muslifah will be making their Asian Games debuts. The five are down for the individual and team events of 10m air rifle, 50m rifle prone and 50m rifle three-position.
Would-be policeman Mohd Hameleay Abdul Mutalib will be the only male rifle shooter competing in Doha.
The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) approved the participation of 14 shooters, all under Category A.
Bibiana Ng, Joseline Cheah and Siti Nur Masitah will compete in the women’s air and sport pistol events while Manila SEA Games gold medallist Hasli Izwan Amir Hasan will bid for a medal in the men’s pistol competitions (rapid fire and centre fire).
Ricky Teh, who is training on his own, will be the sole Malaysian representative for the individual skeet event.
London-based Bernard Yeoh will join forces with Ng Beng Chong and Charles Chen to represent Malaysia in the trap shooting competition.
The trap team secured a place in the Asiad after beating the qualifying mark of 331 at the Tun Hanif Cup at the Subang Shooting Range last month.
In the competition, Bernard, Beng Chong and Wai Heng shot a combined score of 340 to equal the silver medal mark of the Busan Asiad.
With the final list confirmed, National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) secretary Jasni Shaari is looking at the Doha-bound shooters to prove their worth in the National Championships to be held at the Subang Shooting Range next week.
“A lot of money has been spent on the pistol and rifle shooters on the overseas training stint and competitions.
“All of those who are going to compete in Doha should win their events in the National Championships to justify their selection. After all, they have trained more than the rest of the field,” said Jasni.
On the reasons for Mariani’s and Nasreena’s omissions, Jasni said: “The two had to be excluded from the final squad because we are only allowed a maximum of five shooters for the rifle competitions.”
The big team will be a far cry from the previous Asian Games in Busan, which only saw four Malaysian shooters taking part.
“None of our shooters made it to the final then. We hope some of them will get into the top eight final this time.”
Shooting in the Asian Games is a world-class affair and getting into the final will be an achievement in itself.
Shooting offers the biggest number of gold medals – 44 – in the Asiad and China are expected to grab the lion’s share.
Trap shooter Peter Lim was the last Malaysian to win a medal in the Asian Games, achieving the feat in Seoul 20 years ago when he took the silver.