Friday November 2, 2012
Season is over but young Ayuni already preparing for next year
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: The shooting season is over but try telling that to rising star Nur Ayuni Farhana Halim.
Still haunted by the disappointment of missing out on the Olympic Games in London, the 22-year-old riflewoman has been at the shooting range preparing for next year.
She is one of the athletes earmarked by the National Shooting Association of Malaysia (NSAM) for the next Olympic Games under the Road to Rio programme.
“I am so glad that shooting has been given the recognition again to be part of the Olympic Games programme. I missed a chance to qualify for it during the Asian Championships in Doha in January,” said Ayuni.
She finished 16th in the 10m air rifle event while her more illustrious compatriot Nur Suryani Taibi managed to qualify on merit after making the top eight and winning one of the two quotas for Asian shooters.
Suryani, who was eight-month pregnant when she competed in her maiden London Games, gave birth to a baby girl on Sept 9 and it will be a while before she returns to training.
“This is Suryani’s year ... for me, it has been mixed fortunes. I failed to qualify for the London Olympics but I did win my first medal – a bronze at the Asian Championships. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make the cut for the next Olympic Games and challenge for a medal,” said Ayuni.
Many see Ayuni as a perfect replacement for Suryani following her exploits over the last three years. The youngster has won silver and bronze in the air rifle event at the SEA Games level and was the first Malaysian to win a gold medal in an international junior shooting meet in Germany in 2009. Her most significant victory cam when she combined forces with Suryani to win the gold medal in the women’s air rifle event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
The Pahang shooter, who currently trains under national coach Saidou Israel of Belarus, has set her eyes on improving her scores at all the World Cup series and to strike gold for the first time at the SEA Games in Myanmar next year.
“There are no tournaments for me right now but I cannot rest on my laurels. There are many tournaments lined up for me and the rest of the national team next year. There will be more training sessions abroad next year too. It will be hectic and I want to be ready for it,” said Ayuni.
“I have been training under Saidou since 2010 and I have improved in all areas of my game. He knows how to motivate us when we are down and bring out the best in us.”