KUALA LUMPUR: .The National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) are aiming for quality.
They are sending one of their smallest-ever squads to the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April but that won’t stop them from gunning for a gold medal.
Only seven shooters out of NSAM’s proposed list of 22 have been approved by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).
Former Commonwealth Games silver medallist Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, who has been excluded from the Podium Programme, is surprisingly among the seven. She’s also the only woman rifle shooter picked.
The 35-year-old Suryani, a mother of two, is one of Malaysia’s medal prospects as her experience will stand her in good stead for the air rifle, rifle prone and rifle three-position events.
All four Kuala Lumpur SEA Games gold medallists – Johnathan Wong Guanjie (men’s pistol), Alia Sazana Azahari (women’s pistol), Benjamin Khor (men’s double trap) and Mohd Ezuan Nasir Khan (men’s rifle) – are also heading to Gold Coast.
2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medallist Bibiana Ng also got the nod for the women’s pistol events, along with another veteran Hasli Izwan Amir Hasan, who’s focusing on the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol.
NSAM secretary Adam Tee said they had no choice but to leave out many younger candidates.
“Experience counts in the Commonwealth Games and the OCM told us to trim the squad as they have a quota of only 98 athletes for individual events,” said Adam.
“There are no team events this time but we believe our shooters will be able to make the finals in their respective events.
“We hope to bring back at least one gold medal.
“Their performance at the Commonwealth Games will also influence their selection for the Asian Games in Indonesia in August,” he said.
Bibiana’s gold medal was the last for Malaysia in Commonwealth Games shooting.
Suryani was the only medal winner for Malaysia in the Glasgow Games four years ago with her bronze in the women’s 10m air rifle event.