KUALA LUMPUR: Talk about determination and sacrifice!
Six shooters led by Mohamad Lutfi Othman have decided to fork out their own money to participate in the Asian Games in Jakarta from Aug 18-Sept 2.
Rifle shooter Lutfi, Jonathan Wong (men’s air pistol); Bibiana Ng Pei Chin and Joseline Cheah (women’s air pistol), Alia Sazana Azahari (women’s 25m pistol) and Izazi Rosli (women’s air rifle) will feature in the Games under Category B.
The 24-year-old Lutfi said the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) did not include any shooters under Category A as they were not pleased with the national shooters’ performances in international competitions.
“OCM also increased the qualifying mark from top-six to top-four based on the previous Asiad results. Unfortunately, none of us qualified on merit for the Games based on this new selection criteria,” said the Seremban-born Lutfi.
Lutfi, who will be competing in the men’s 10m air rifle, 50m three position and 10m air rifle mixed said the shooters were disappointed but they refused to give up hope.
“We decided to go Under Category B. That means, we have to bear our own expenses to compete in the Games. It will cost each of us RM4,000 for the flight ticket, accommodation and other expenses,” said Lutfi, who has been representing Malaysia since 2016.
“The NSAM (National Shooting Association of Malaysia) have subsidised RM500 for each one of us and we’ll source out the balance.
Lutfi, who is pursuing a degree in Communication at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), said he would head to Indonesia with renewed determination to prove a point.
“I’m pumped up to give my best in my first Games. I want to break a national record either in the 10m air rifle or 50m three-position events.
“My national record in the 10m air rifle is 623 points, which I set at the Selangor Shooting Championships at the Subang Range in February.
“I have a personal best of 1163 in 50m three position, which is only two points short of the national record.
Lutfi will compete in the mixed event with Izazi and will be looking forward to a successful debut.
“The mixed event in shooting is held for the first time in the Asian Games. Hopefully, Izazi and I can spring a surprise,” he added.