IT’S been six years since the 50m rifle three positions shooting event was last held at the SEA Games.
But national shooter Muhd Zubair Mohd’s efforts to mark its return with a gold fell short.
He could only deliver a bronze at the National Shooting Range yesterday.
The 25-year-old, who was languishing in sixth place after the kneeling and prone positions, found his mark in the standing position to finish with 432.1 points.
Thai Olympian Napis Tortungpanich won the gold with 444.7 points while Vietnamese Nguyen Duy Hoang, the winner at Jakarta 2011, took the silver with 441.9 points.
The bronze finish equalled Mohd Hadafi Jaafar’s effort in 2011. It is also Zubair’s first individual medal at the Games.
While apologising for not delivering the gold, the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) student believes that “the bronze is still worth all the hard work over the last few months”.
“This is the event that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s been six years since the three positions was last competed at the Games,” said Zubair.
“It was very tough. I was up against top shooters – Olympians and experienced guys like Duy Hoang.
“I also had to fight my way up from the bottom after I faltered in the prone position, which isn’t my strongest.
“I’m really grateful that all the hard work over the last few months have paid off ... although it’s just a bronze.
“I’m sorry that I couldn’t deliver the gold.”
Malaysia later finished empty-handed in the women’s 10m air rifle.
Games debutant Nur Izazi Rosli finished fourth with 201.10 points while mother-of-two Shahera Rahim Raja was fifth with 179.90 points.
Singapore’s Martina Veloso (247.70 points) won the gold while compatriot Jasmine Ser (247.3) got the silver. Thailand’s Nawinda Kasemkiatthai (221.70) settled for the bronze.
After five days of competition, Malaysia have a 3-4-2 medal haul. The golds were won by Benjamin Khor (double trap), Alia Sazana Azahari (women’s 25m pistol) and Muhd Ezuan Nasir Khan (men’s 50m rifle prone).
The National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) had set them a four-gold target.
There are three more events – men’s 10m air pistol, women’s 50m rifle three positions and men’s trap – on the final day of competition today.See our full coverage of SEA Games 2017