Nur Syahirah finally bags the big one

Nur Syahirah Zulkifli finally won the elusive gold medal in the 10m air rifle event at the Selangor Open Shooting Championships on Sunday. - BERNAMA

SUBANG: She may be small in stature, but Nur Syahirah Zulkifli is proof that good things do come in small packages after she rounded off her campaign at the Selangor Open Shooting Championships with a gold in the women’s 10m air rifle event.

The 19-year-old Syahirah had qualified for the final in third spot behind national shooters Muslifah Zulkifli and Suryani at the Subang Shooting Range on Sunday.

But her consistent shooting in the 20-series elimination final saw her notch 204.4 points to edge Olympian Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi (203.9) by a mere 0.5 for her first gold in a senior event. Nor Ayuni Farhana Abd Halim took bronze with 182.5 points.

The Kedah-born shooter had come close a couple of times last year, finishing with the silver at the Chia Woh Trophy (10m air rifle) and Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy (50m rifle three position). She also finished third twice in the 50m rifle three positions at the NSAM President Ally T.H. Ong Trophy and Tun Hanif Trophy championships respectively.

But, this time, she finally came good.

“I just focused on my shooting and kept my scores consistent ... nothing else. It’s not the first time that I’ve competed against her. So, it didn’t feel all that foreign to me. Last year, I lost out on a bronze medal in the same event in the Ally Ong Trophy,” said Syahirah.

“Yesterday (Saturday), there was a three-hour delay during the 50m rifle three-position event due to technical issues and I think we were all feeling the aftereffects today. Towards the end, my feet was throbbing and I just tried to block it out. Even Suryani commented that she was feeling the strain.

“It’s not ideal, but I think it’s a good experience to compete in tough conditions or physical strain because it will only make you stronger. You can’t have it easy always and being able to deal with external distractions and being mentally tough is vital.”

Meanwhile, Selangor are firmly set on hitting all the right targets at the Sukma (Malaysia Games) in Perlis from May 24 - June 4.

At the Selangor Open, the Selangor juniors showed more than just a glimpse of their prowess by taking home eight medals from 13 events – four golds, two silvers and two bronzes.

The gold medals were won by Syahirah (10m air rifle and 50m rifle prone), Aida Amirah Mohd Sheriff (25m pistol) and Najaa Syairah Mahyudin (10m air pistol).

“Sukma is just a few months away and we’ve been pushing the shooters to up the ante in training because we want them to peak at the right time. They’ve done a very good job here and showed what they can do ... but there is definitely more to come,” said Selangor coach Felix Ho.

“They’ve all done a wonderful job here. Now, we just have to make sure we get into top gear during Sukma.”

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