Johnathan gets back to studies and training after maiden win

Unbridled joy: Malaysia’s Johnathan Wong Guan Jie (centre) celebrating after winning the men’s 10m air pistol at the National Shooting Range in Subang yesterday. Vietnam’s Hoang Xuan Vinh (left) takes the silver while Myanmar’s Kyaw Swar Win finishes with the bronze.

SHARPSHOOTER Johnathan Wong Guan Jie hardly had time to celebrate winning his first SEA Games gold.

Moments after winning the men’s 10m air pistol event – defeating Vietnam’s Rio Olympics gold medallist Hoang Xuan Vinh – at the Na­­tional Shooting Range in Subang yesterday, his thoughts were on completing the next semester of his studies as he has to prepare for three major competitions next year.

Johnathan scored 238.30 points while the Vietnamese had 234.10.

The three assignments next year for the 25-year-old Johnathan, who is a fourth year aerospace engineering student at Universiti Putra Ma­­laysia in Serdang, are the Common­wealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast in April, Indonesia Asian Games in August and the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Next year will be a packed one for me with several major assignments, including the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics,” said Johna­than, who also competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“So I want to get as many credit hours as possible this year. I want to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.”

Commenting on his win, the 25-year-old credited coach Park Sang-soon’s training programme for boosting his confidence.

That, he said, helped him to quickly recover from a slow start in the first round.

Johnathan clearly showed nerves of steel to handle the extra pressure heaped on him when “my family came to watch me compete for the first time”.

“I was a bit nervous in the opening stage. I didn’t expect to beat an Olympic champion,” said Johna­than, who won a silver in the event at Singapore 2015.

“I didn’t expect this gold medal. I need to thank my family ... even my grandfather was here to support me today. I also need to thank my coaches.

“I was just focused on doing my best. Before my last shot, my coach told me that I was ‘far’ ahead of my rival.

“I didn’t expect such a huge gap. My whole body just went numb after last shot, probably due to the excitement.”

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