Published by The Star
BY NG WEI LOON
EMERGING shooter Khoo Nee Keong has shrugged off his initial hesitation at handling firearms and has even developed a fondness for the weapons.
His father Datuk Seri Perkasa Diraja Khoo Gee Chong recalled that Nee Keong was intimidated earlier because he had the impression that shooting was dangerous.
“We convinced him to take up shooting as a hobby and introduced him to the side-arm event when he was in Form Five. He has acquired sound basic techniques under the charge of trainer Marzuki Man.
“And, he has been very careful and thorough in his approach. In fact, they were impressed with him for maintaining a very high standard in complying with the safety measures at the Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia,” he added.
Although Nee Keong got off to a jittery start in the opening two days of the competition, he bounced back strongly to pick up a bronze medal in the Production Junior category of the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) pistol event in his first international appearance.
“I wanted to gauge my strength against more established junior shooters. I struggled to adapt to the new environment because I was inexperienced. It was also tough having to cope with different types of ammunition in the three-day competition decided over 18 stages.
“But, I am glad that I produced respectable results and brought home a bronze medal in my only attempt to feature in the Under-21 age-group at an international competition,” Nee Keong said, adding that he aspired to make a breakthrough in the senior competition at the Australasia meet next year.
At the Arafura Games, the 21-year-old electrical engineering student was also part of the Malaysian line-up that also comprised three other competitors – Foo Kah Hin, Datuk Cheng Kok Leong and Cheng Chee Yuen – which finished third in the men’s team event.
Nee Keong has been training under the tutelage of Foo at the Selangor Shooting Association shooting range in Subang Jaya for more than a year, to polish his skills in the IPSC event.
He is also complementing his training regime by improving on his physical endurance: he runs between two and four kilometres three times a week, and analyses video footage of his performances in tackling the course.
Foo said his young protege was hungry for success and was aiming to take up stiffer challenges at a higher level.
“Besides requiring participants to maintain physical fitness to move around the course swiftly, the IPSC event is about taking calculated risks in opting for the right tactics and strategies to complete each stage with a different difficulty.
“Going into competition, it is normal for him to be anxious. But, he has also shown that he can overcome the early setbacks and recover to deliver, especially at the Arafura Games. And that was a good learning curve for him to build his confidence,” added Foo, who hopes that Nee Keong will move up to be among the top 10 shooters in the country.