PETALING JAYA: The odds are stacked against our shooters but coach Park Sang-soon (pic) believes the team can bring home two gold medals from the South-East Asia Championships (Seasa), starting from Aug 18-27 in Jakarta.
The Seasa will be a daunting task as some shooters only returned to competitive action last month, no thanks to the closure of the National Shooting Range in Subang.
The national shooters have been training regularly at the National Sports Council (NSC) shooting range in Bukit Jalil but some have returned to the range before the start of the Selangor Shooting Championships in July.
Sang-soon was heartened to see the good performances of Ezuan Nasir Khan and Nur Suryani Taib in the Selangor Shooting Championships last month and hopes they can replicate that form in Indonesia.
“We have to look at the bigger picture. A good performance not only bodes well for the SEA Games preparation but also Olympic qualification, ” said Sang-soon.
“At the SEASA, I hope the likes of Ezuan can do well and get their momentum before the SEA Games in Manila.
“I will give my 100% and, despite the odds against us, I hope to help the team bag two gold medals in the men’s and women’s rifle competition.”
About 45 Malaysian shooters will be taking part in the pistol, rifle, skeet and trap events contested there.
Pistol shooter Johnathan Wong will not be part of the contingent but is expected to go for the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil with Alia Sazana Azahari on Aug 22.
The competition in Jakarta will be important for the shooters as the selection for the SEA Games in Manila from Nov 30-Dec 11 will be done after the tournament. The deadline to submit the names is Sept 2.
National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) executive secretary Hayati Shamsuri said the list of shooters sent by the association could be considered for Category A under the Podium Programme depending on their performances.
After the SEASA and ISFF World Cup in Brazil, some shooters will head to the Asian Shooting Championships in Doha, Qatar, in November.
Sang-soon said he intends to prepare his shooters thoroughly to ensure they will be at their best to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“Nothing is impossible. I know preparation has been hampered a little. As a coach I will do my best to motivate and prepare them mentally for the tournament.”