PETALING JAYA: It was a double joy for seasoned trap shooter Charles Chen at the Singapore Open, which ended on Monday.
He not only clinched the gold medal in style but also claimed a ticket to the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Charles equalled former Olympian Bernard Yeoh’s preliminary round national record of 120 to head the list of six finalists. And another round of 19 was enough for him to better Bernard’s national record of 134 by five shots.
Australia Clay Shooting Association’s Tom Turner and Steven Trembath took silver and bronze with scores of 137 and 135 respectively.
Singapore’s former SEA Games champion Lee Wung Yew failed to win a place in the final with a preliminary round score of 111.
The other two Malaysians – Ong Chee Kheng and Ng Beng Chong – were placed 11th (108) and 17th (104) respectively. Their efforts together with the score posted by Charles totalled 332 and it was good to secure the team gold medal over the Australians.
Charles was elated with the victory as he not only qualified on merit for the Commonwealth Games in October but also had the pleasure of erasing the national record set by London-based Bernard in 2002.
The qualifying mark for the Commonwealth Games was 116, the sixth-place result from the previous Games in Melbourne in 2006.
“Bernard was the first to beat the qualifying mark when he shot a 120 in the world championships in Slovenia last year,” said Charles, who took up trap shooting in 1987.
“I’m glad to join him on merit with a personal best score in the Singapore Open. I’m looking forward to partnering him in the pairs event at the Games.
“The understanding with the National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) earlier was that I would have to bear the expenses if I wanted to take part in the Games if I did not meet the qualifying mark. That was not a problem as I love to shoot and represent the country.
“I have now met the qualifying mark and I will inform the association about it.”
It will be the third appearance for Charles in the Games after 1998 Kuala Lumpur and 2004 Manchester.