BULLSEYE: Dedicates nation’s first gold to husband
Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi dedicated her 50-metre rifle three-position gold -- the nation's first of the 2011 Sea Games -- to her husband Marhazli Mohtar.
Having tied the knot in June, Nur Suryani said she wished her husband had been in the stands to see her regain a title she had won six years ago.
"Unfortunately, he isn't here but in Kuala Lumpur but I am happy to have delivered Malaysia's first gold medal of the Games," said Nur Suryani, 29.
It was a commendable achievement considering the problems the shooters have faced from the onset.
If their ammunition was barred from being transported when they left KL last week, another shock awaited them when they arrived at Palembang's Jakabaring Shooting Range for a training session on Wednesday -- the organisers were unaware Malaysia were competing in shooting.
Yesterday, Nur Suryani and several other national athletes were hit by diarrhoea but she battled through to get Malaysia's gold rush going.
She posted a combined score of 679.8 points to finish ahead of Thailand's Sununta Majchacheep (676.3) and compatriot Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim (675.4).
Nur Suryani started the day by posting 582 in the preliminary round to finish on pole and led from start to finish in the final with lines of 9.0, 9.1, 10.7, 9.6, 10.5, 9.4, 9.6, 10.0, 10.3 and 9.6.
It was, however, a nervy final for the Ipoh-born as Sununtu was closing in on her after five rounds but Nur Suryani held her composure to surge ahead in the next five shots.
"My aim here was to do better than Laos (2009) and I did just that today (yesterday). I am also glad to win Malaysia' s first gold medal in this Sea Games. It is an honour for me," said Nur Suryani, who will compete in the 50m prone tomorrow and 10m air rifle the following day.
A second gold could have followed had Mohd Hadafi Jaafar not fiddled with his trigger in the 10m air rifle.
Hadafi had opened a 0.6-point lead after seven rounds in the final over Singapore's eventual gold medallist Zhang Jin but the 26-year-old lost concentration when a jury tapped his arm when he was caught fiddling with the rifle trigger before the eighth round.
The traffic police officer ended up losing the gold by a mere 0.1 point. Hadafi garnered 685.8 points while Thailand's Chaisawat Weerawat earned the bronze (685.1).
"The Myanmar jury should have not done that. He could have just informed me. I lost my focus and the title," said Hadafi, who won the rifle 50m three-position team silver in Laos.
Khalel Abdullah's decision to switch to the 25m standard pistol individual discipline paid dividends when he won Malaysia's second silver of the day.
The 34-year-old, a national shooter since 2006, amassed a 562 total to finish behind Indonesia's gold medallist Yulianto Anang (569). Vietnam's Bui Quang Nam was third (559).