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Saturday November 13, 2010

National shooters have a glimmer of hope

WINNING a medal in shooting, which starts today at the Aoti Shooting Range, will be considered a fantastic achievement for Malaysia.

Team manager Adam Tee Chung Huat said yesterday that Malaysian shooters were not expected to get on the podium as they would have world-class shooters from China, South Korea and India for company.

"But the excellent performances by our shooters in the Delhi Commonwealth Games last month has given our shooters a glimmer of hope to end Malaysia's long medal drought (in Asian Games)," he said.

Malaysia had a haul of 2-2-1 in Delhi Games. The gold medallists were Bibiana Ng (women's 10m air pistol) and Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi and Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim (10m air rifle women's pairs).

In the Asian Games series, Malaysia have won only two bronze medals.

The skeet team of Ally Ong, Edmond Yong, Stanley Lim and Yap Pow Thong won the first medal in Teheran in 1974.

Trap shooter Peter Lim got on the podium in the 1986 Seoul Games.

Malaysia's top woman rifle shooter Nur Suryani, who will be in action today, said that she would not be intimidated by the presence of world-class shooters.

"I won a silver medal in the 10m air rifle in the World Cup in Sydney in March and I am optimistic that I will be able to put up a strong challenge in my pet event.

"Winning a medal will be tough but nothing is impossible," she said.

Besides Nur Suryani and Nur Ayuni, the third member of the team for the event is Shahera Rahim Raja.

Two Chinese shooters – world champion Yi Siling and Wu Liuxi, who bagged the gold and silver respectively in the World Cup in Munich last month – will start the event as overwhelming favourites.

The Malaysian men's air rifle team of Mohd Nurrahimin Abdul Halim, Shahril Sahak Mohd and Adzha Hisyam will also be in action today.

However, they are not expected to reach the final.

At the last Asiad in Doha, Bibiana was the only shooter who managed to reach the final in the 25m sport pistol event.

The 33-year-old Bibiana said she was ready to give her best in Guangzhou after her good outing in New Delhi.

"I know that winning a medal is out of my reach but I hope to improve on my eight placing in Doha," she said.