Lethal weapon

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - People - Wong trains six days a week. — FILEPIC

NATIONAL shooter Johnathan Wong Guan­jie may be a sharp­shooter but he ad­mits that he is not a mas­ter of shooter video games.

“My friends used to tease me that if I’m so good at shoot­ing, I must ex­cel at Counter-Strike (or any other video games),” said Wong, 24.

“But the truth is, I’m not good,” added the Me­laka-born Olympian who com­peted in the men’s 10m air pis­tol event at the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Wong started shoot­ing at the age of 13. He re­called that at that time, the Me­laka Shoot­ing As­so­ci­a­tion was look­ing for young tal­ents as part of the state gov­ern­ment pro­gramme for Sukma (Sukan Malaysia). The as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives went to Wong’s el­dest sis­ter’s school to look for po­ten­tial can­di­dates.

“My sis­ter joined the sport, and even­tu­ally dragged me along as my fam­ily deemed I was not be­ing pro­duc­tive at home,” quipped Wong, who has two el­der sis­ters and a younger brother.

At that time, he thought “it was cool to fire a pis­tol” and signed up.

He en­rolled into Ma­jlis Sukan Ne­gara (MSN) in 2009 as a ju­nior national ath­lete.

Two years later, he of­fi­cially joined the se­nior squad, where he has re­mained un­til now.

Wong will be tak­ing part at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. Presently, he trains two ses­sions daily, for six days a week. Af­ter train­ing, he has gym or phys­i­cal ses­sions.

In May, he flew to South Korea for a train­ing stint and com­pe­ti­tion, hook­ing up with that na­tion’s ath­letes for a month.

Said Wong: “I hope this SEA Games will be memorable for all Malaysians. Hope­fully, I can con­trib­ute a gold medal and bring pride to our na­tion. Also, I hope the SEA Games will be en­joy­able for all ath­letes from par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries.”

Nor­mally, af­ter a great win, one would cel­e­brate.

Wong said: “I would treat my­self with some­thing nice to eat, or even go for a movie, af­ter all the hard work!”

Said Wong: “When I joined the sport, I thought it was mainly for fun. How­ever, when I ac­tu­ally got to shoot a pis­tol, it wasn’t what I ex­pected it to be.

“The pis­tol was heavy and I found it hard to take aim. And train­ing was hard work. But af­ter some time, I even­tu­ally got bet­ter at it.”

As a sport shooter, train­ing mainly fo­cuses on shoot­ing. Nev­er­the­less, the most im­por­tant thing in shoot­ing is dis­ci­pline.

“We prac­tise the same ac­tion over and over again, and per­fect the shots. With­out dis­ci­pline, there will not be con­sis­tency in our shots,” Wong said.

Pa­tience is cru­cial in shoot­ing. He ex­plained: “In ev­ery shot we fire, we can’t ex­pect the per­fect re­sult in the first at­tempt, but we need to keep prac­tis­ing the cor­rect method. As my coach says, we will shoot a 10 only af­ter we fo­cus on ex­e­cut­ing all the cor­rect steps.”

Be­ing a national shooter and stu­dent is in­deed tough for Wong, who is a fourth-year aerospace en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent of Univer­sity Pu­tra Malaysia in Ser­dang.

“But it all comes down to time man­age­ment and pri­ori­ti­sa­tion,” he said.

When­ever an im­por­tant game is com­ing up, he will “slow down” his stud­ies, and in­stead, put more ef­fort in his sport. Due to his busy sched­ule in shoot­ing, Wong has length­ened his aca­demic du­ra­tion by tak­ing fewer sub­jects per se­mes­ter.

“Proper time plan­ning for classes and train­ing en­sures that I will have suf­fi­cient time for both,” he con­cluded. – Ma­jorie Chiew

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