PETALING JAYA: Life can be tough being jobless and a part-time shooter in the national team.
That is the predicament of Olympian Johnathan Wong after years of being a full-time athlete.
He is one of the three shooters under the part-time list decided by the National Sports Council (NSC) and National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) this year. The other two are Mohd Luthfi Othman and Bibiana Ng.
So when national coach Yusri Jusoh called him on Thursday to have a session at the range with the air pistol, the 28-year-old Johnathan did not hesitate to take up the offer.
“I got a call from the coach, and he told me to come and have a quick session for the first time. I am part of the part-time set-up, so we are allowed only 10 sessions a month,” said Johnathan.
“It has been five months since I held the pistol. So, the quick session did help a little. I certainly missed the feel of holding a gun.”
The other bothersome fact is that Johnathan is unemployed since earning an aerospace engineering degree from Universiti Putra Malaysia last November.
“To be honest, it has been a struggle to look for a job. I have gone to Shah Alam and Johor Baru for interviews. I usually bunk at my friends or relatives’ place for the interviews. But it is not easy especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“However, thanks to my shooting career, I have been steady and my mental strength is pretty good when dealing with this kind of matters.
“I am not losing hope. I am passionate about aerospace programmes and would love to join this sector.”
He won gold in the 10m air pistol event at the President Ally T.H. Ong trophy in the second week of March just before the imposition of the movement control order on March 18.
Johnathan took part in the 10m air pistol and 50m pistol events in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil four years ago, but his failure to win a medal in the SEA Games last year in Manila saw him being relegated to a part-time slot.
The full-time shooters – Nur Suryani Taibi, Alia Sazana Azahari, Siau Zianyi, Haritz Iklil Hessly Hafiz, Nur Izazi Rosli, Alia Husna Budruddin, Sharifah Noor Elyana Syed Abdul Hamid and Dina Batrisyia Adi Azhar – who are allowed to use the shooting range at the National Sports Council, will report for duty tomorrow.
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