BANGKOK, Nov 27 (Bernama) -- Malaysia won their first gold medal of the 24th SEA Games which began here today and narrowly missed garnering another, both in the women's shooting event.
The women's 50M Rifle Prone Team delivered the gold medal but the second gold slipped out of Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi's hands when she lost on countback in the individual category.
Nur Suryani had led two SEA Games debutantes, Nur Ain Ibrahim and Haslisa Hamed, to win the team gold with a total of 1,755 points, 10 more than the team from host Thailand and eventual bronze medallist Indonesia who had 1,743.
It was a heartbreak indeed for defending champion Nur Suryani who, having shot a total of 587 points, lost the individual gold medal on a countback to Myanmar's Than Than Saw, who also scored 587 points. Based on Than Than's score of 99 on the last shot in five series, the Myanmar shooter bagged the gold to dislodge Nur Suryani who had 96.
Malaysia lodged an official protest claiming discrepancies in Nur Suryani's registered points in the last series but this was rejected by the jury.
"I am frustrated. I came very close but luck was not on my side," said Nur Suryani, who had been down with fever and cough for the past five days.
For 21-year-old Hazlisa, who finished fifth in the individual category, it was a perfect start to her international outing as this SEA Games was her first overseas tournament.
"I was under pressure as this is my first overseas tournament. It was a surprise. I am dedicating this (medal) to my father who helps me a lot," said the Sukma gold medallist who joined the navy in August.
Nur Ain, a Universiti Putra Malaysia student, said their two weeks of training in Langkawi prior to coming here helped them cope with the strong wind at the shooting range of the Sports Authority of Thailand.
The victory, said the SEA Games debutante who was fourth in the individual category, would definitely boost their morale when they compete in Kuwait from Dec 3 to 13 in the Asian Championships, which is also an Olympic qualifier.
Malaysian Deputy Chief de Mission and former national athlete Zaiton Othman was present at the venue to give morale support to the shooters.
Malaysia's two shooters in the 25m pistol event failed to win any medal. Devi Das Ishvari shot 560 points to finish 10 while teammate Nor Erffani Abdul Malick came in one rung lower on 559.
Vietnam's Nguyen Thu Van took the gold with 574 points while Thailand's Pruckasakorn Tanyaporn took the silver with 573. The bronze medal went to Dang Thu Huong, also of Vietnam, who had 565.
Vietnam also took the 25m pistol team gold with a total of 1,702 points, beating Thailand to second place with 1,693 while Myanmar came in third with 1,687.
Malaysian national coach Saidov Isroil said he accepted the jury's decision rejecting Malaysia's protest, adding that he was happy with one gold and one silver achieved today. "It's nothing wrong with making a protest as there could be mistakes during the calculation of points. The points were very close and we just had to verify the scores given."
The SEA Games will officially start on Dec 6 in Nakhon Ratchasima, known locally as Korat, located about 260km northeast of Bangkok.