PETALING JAYA: A 15-year wait came to an end for Malaysia as Bernard Yeoh gunned down the trap individual gold in the South-East Asian Shooting Association championships (SEASA) in Bangkok yesterday.
Bernard shot a single barrel score of 24 out of a possible 25 in the final for a total of 129 and his sparkling late charge enabled Malaysia to clinch the team gold medal as well.
Bernard, Ong Chee Kheng and Ng Beng Chong combined for a total of 309 to finish ahead of Taiwan (306) and hosts Thailand (303).
It was the first time that Malaysia made a sweep of the trap individual and team gold medals in the championship series.
This year’s meet was one of the most tightly contested with participation from a total of 76 shooters.
Bernard, a 40-year-old restaurant owner based in London, was delighted with his performance, especially after barely making it to the top six final.
“I was in joint fifth on a weak score of 105 out of 125 targets. But I managed to overtake everyone in the final to finish five shots ahead of Tsai Yen-chien of Taiwan.
“I managed to shoot my personal best score in the final and it is satisfying, considering the circumstances I was in.
“When I arrived here five days ago, I cut and grazed my face badly due to gun recoil. I had a bleeding cheek during the practice days and started badly.
“Fortunately, it all healed up by the final competition day. I was told the last time there was a Malaysian winner was 15 years ago.
“In the individual final, the shooters were separated from first to sixth positions by only four targets.”
Bernard is currently ranked 76th in the world. He is the first Malaysian to be in a world top 100 ranking in the shotgun categories – either trap, skeet or double trap – and has qualified for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games next year.