NUR Suryani Mohamed Taibi, the 29-year-old Olympian, made Malaysia proud by competing in the world event when she is eight months' pregnant.
She is the first woman to represent Malaysia in shooting and is ranked 47th in the world in the 10-metre air rifle event. She won gold in the same event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.
She is apparently the competitor with the most advanced pregnancy stage in Olympic history, attracting interest from all over the world.
Given that the International Olympic Committee does not keep good records of the number of pregnant athletes, Nur Suryani seems most likely to set a "record" of sorts among the handful of pregnant Olympians in either the Summer or Winter Games.
While shooting is physically less taxing, it is mentally demanding as athletes must be accurate to the merest fraction of a millimetre. This makes the movement of the baby in the womb very distracting. Balance and concentration are paramount, with little room for error.
If the target is the foot, then Malaysia would have won at least one gold medal without difficulty, under whatever circumstances. "Shooting (Malaysia) in the foot" has been the country's pastime for some time now.
Not so long ago, it was announced that there were some 80,000 unemployed graduates in Malaysia. The issue appeared as headline news in the local and foreign media.
Later it appeared that the statistics included Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia school-leavers. Although the final tally dropped to less than 20,000, the damage was already done.
Many had wondered how the country can achieve its aim of being a regional education hub when so many of its graduates are unemployed.
The saddest part is that even though the "corrections" were made later on, negative perceptions linger on.
Reports of Malaysians involved in isolated, untoward incidents are often played up in the media.
Invariably someone starts to make comparisons with their equally isolated experience overseas, and add insult to injury! The ugly Malaysians image is generalised to the whole country, yet we want to make Malaysia a popular tourist destination!
These are two of the many "shooting (Malaysia) in the foot" exercises that Malaysians are perfecting by the day.
We have not even captured those that are laced with political agenda and intended to run down the political enemy but ended up tarnishing Malaysia's image!
These episodes have a very long lasting influence on the well-being of the country. The habit of shooting (Malaysia) in the foot is compounded by shooting from the hip in almost desperate attempts, not unlike the Malay proverb menangguk di air keruh (to fish in murky waters).
Given that certain segments of the population are unable to read between the lines, the confusion gives rise to more divisiveness than you can possibly imagine.
We read about break-ups in marriages and families due to shifting alliances, not least party-hopping! Even sport is not spared from uncouth remarks.
Focus, which is vital to shooting the target with accuracy, seems to be unnecessary in the case of shooting (Malaysia) in the foot or from the hips. Instead, the act is calculated to cause damage to as many people as possible.
It is time that such unsavoury activities be rejected from our culture as part of our goal of becoming a more responsible citizenry. As we celebrate the 55th independence of Malaysia, we must elevate its sovereignty among nations.