IT has been something of an annus horribilis for national rifle shooter Mohd Ezuan Nasir Khan – but he is still hoping for one saving grace before the year ends.
The standard of the sport in the country has been dipping over the years – with no shooters in next year’s Olympics for the first time in 36 years – but the 30-year-old Navy officer believes a stellar performance in the SEA Games will put shooting back in the spotlight for Malaysian sports.
In the recent Asian Championships in Doha, Qatar, only Nur Suryani Taibi won a bronze in the 50m rifle prone event. The rest faltered in the qualifying stages with none qualifying for Tokyo 2020.
Ezuan had an equally disappointing outing there as he finished 46th in the 10m air rifle and 16th in the prone event. He also had to accept the fact that he could not compete in many competitions due to the closure of the Subang Shooting Range, which was only reopened in June.
Still, Ezuan is looking to make amends in Manila by at least winning a medal.
“We will be flying to Manila today. I do not expect anything, I just want to beat my personal best of 622.7 in the 10m air rifle and win at least a medal, ” he said.
“I will do my best and put all my effort and strength into my last competition of the year. This is the first time I’m shooting in Manila. The aim is to make a lasting impression.”
Ezuan said he does not have anything to prove at the moment. Instead, he just wants shooting to regain prominence in the country.
“I really hope every one of us can prove that Malaysia has not lost its sting. We don’t want to be known as the team that fire blanks. I believe Manila will see the rise of our team again.
The vastly experienced squad are made up of Bibiana Ng and Joseline Cheah (10m air pistol); Ezuan and Lufti Othman (10m air rifle); Charles Chen, Bernard Yeoh (trap); Nur Suryani Taibi (10m air rifle) and Johnathan Wong (10m air pistol).
Malaysia won four golds, five silvers and three bronzes out of 14 events contested at the last Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017.
The golds came from Johnathan (10m air pistol), Ezuan (50m rifle prone), Benjamin Khor (double trap) and Alia Sazana Azahari (25m pistol).
The National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) and the National Sports Council (NSC) have set a target of two gold medals in the Philippines.
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