PETALING JAYA: Teenager Mohd Lufti Othman only took up shooting three years ago but looks set to become the top rifle shooter in the country after an impressive performance in the Selangor Shooting Championships at the Subang Range.
The 18-year-old Seremban-born shooter chalked up a personal best of 595 in the qualifying rounds of the men’s individual 50m rifle prone event yesterday to qualify for the SEA Games, which will be held in Myanmar in December.
It surpassed the qualifying mark of 590 points, which is the silver medal-winning effort of the previous Games in Indonesia two years ago.
Lufti captured two gold medals – the boys’ (SportExcel-NSC-Milo-NSAM) with 595 points and the men’s with 695.8 points.
Lufti, who is awaiting his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results, also equalled the national junior record of 595 points set by Mohd Shahril Ishak of Johor two years ago in Subang.
On Thursday, he chalked up a personal best of 582 points in the qualifying rounds to bag the bronze in the boys’ 10m air rifle before surprising more established shooters to win the gold in the senior category with 684.4 points.
Lufti admitted that he was surprised to have upstaged the national shooters en route to improving on his personal best by six points in the 50m rifle prone yesterday.
“It was my best-ever achievement since taking up shooting in 2010,” said Lufti, who won the silver medal in the men’s three position team event in the Thailand Open last May.
“I’m in top form now and on the right path to being a top national rifle shooter.
“I’m delighted to have qualified on merit for the SEA Games. My biggest challenge now will be to maintain my form as only the best three shooters in the rifle prone event will feature in the Games,” added Lufti, who only finished fourth in the rifle three position event in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF) in Sydney last month.
Lufti also hopes to win the gold medal in the three position event today.
“I want to be best rifle shooter in the country ... I need to continue improving on my personal best,” he said.
Former Olympian Hasli Izwan Amir Hasan, 36, of Perak won his second gold medal in the men’s 25m centre fire pistol with 575 points.