Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sea Games/Shooting: Charles collapses at crucial stage

Charles Chen missed four of his first five targets in the six-man final.
Charles Chen missed four of his first five targets in the six-man final.

TRAP shooter Charles Chen squandered a great opportunity to double Malaysia's gold medal tally at the Korat Sea Games in a collapse of epic proportions as the trap team won bronze at Bangkok's Sport Authority of Thailand shooting range yesterday.

Charles had raised expectations of a gold medal charge when he jointly topped the qualifying charts of the men's individual trap event with a score of 108.

But the pressure appeared to get the better of Charles, 41, when he missed four of his first five targets in the six-man final to drop out of medal contention.

It got worse for Charles as he dropped to sixth mid-way through the 25 targets and in the end only managed to shoot down 10 birds - the worst score by any shooter in a single round in the tournament - to finish with a total of 118.

Singapore's Amat Mohd Zain edged Atig Kicharoen of Thailand and another Singaporean Lee Wung Yew for the gold medal on countback after all three ended the final tied on 125.
"My preparation was perfect going into the final as our coach Peter (Terry) is also a psychologist. But I just cannot explain what happened. Someone mentioned I was not holding the gun right but I know I should have done better," said a devastated Charles, making his eighth Sea Games appearance.

Charles, who is still left searching for his first Sea Games gold, said he did not expect to make the final let alone be the top qualifier.

"I was not paying attention to the scoreboard and was shocked when Peter said I was in the lead and that I was close to getting a bronze for the team. I came here without any expectations but I'm disappointed having come so close to getting my first gold medal," he said.

Charles' qualifying score anchored the team, who were lying second overnight, to the bronze medal with a combined score of 309 as teammates Leong Wei Heng (104 - ninth) and Bernard Yeoh (97 - 11th) failed to sustain their early fine form.

Singapore, whose three shooters made the individual final, took gold on 318 while Philippines moved past Malaysia into the silver medal position with 312.

That was one of four gold medals won by Singapore yesterday as they topped the medal tally with five gold, two silver and two bronze while Malaysia are fifth on 1-1-1. Myanmar and Vietnam grabbed the day's two other gold medals.

New Straits Times

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