FIRST, it was the failure to qualify for the Olympics on merit after 34 years. Now, it’s the failure to win a single gold in the SEA Games.
The gunners are shooting themselves in the foot.
One thing is for sure – Malaysia has regressed badly in the South-East Asian shooting scene. Just at the last Games two years ago in KL, they had four gold medals.
It certainly looks bleak now for the National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) as they need an inspired performance in the Philippines after failing to send a shooter to the Olympics for the first time since 1986.
The last two days of the shooting tournament saw Malaysians nearly bagging gold for the 10m air pistol women and also the men’s trap team, but the team know that they failed.
Some were shooting blanks as youngsters from Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand showed enormous growth in the 10m air rifle and 10m air pistol category, both Olympics events.
Experienced shooters like Mohd Ezuan Nasir Khan, Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, Joseline Cheah, Raja Shahera Abd Rahim and Johnathan Wong were left humbled. Johnathan was expected to retain his gold for 10m air pistol but fell in the final hurdle, finishing fourth in the 10m air pistol final.
Tears were flowing, and one cannot fault his commitment and effort but more development is needed if we are to close the gap with other countries in the region.
The likes of Thailand and Indonesia are sending their athletes to Germany for training stints, while Singapore has included shooting in the school co-curriculum syllabus.
They are also sending their athletes to World Cup competitions, but in Malaysia, only Johnathan and Alia Sazana Azahari (25m pistol) have been sent for these tournaments.
Team manager Datuk Musa Omar said Malaysia has a lot of catching up to do.
“We have not achieved our target, and it is time to sit down and discuss the reasons for this downfall. For me, development is needed.
“Without it, we are only going to fall behind Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. They are beginning to win medals for their country at the age of 18.
“In Malaysia, we are still relying on experienced shooters, who train and work at the same time.
From four golds two years ago to just one this time – and it could get worse. Something drastic has to be done to stop the rot.
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