PRIORITY: Olympics to be final event before extended break
PREGNANT shooter Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi will be taking an extended break from the sport after the Olympics.
Nur Suryani, who is due to have her first baby on Sept 2, will not compete for at least three months after confinement before deciding on her future.
"Sacrifices have been made for the past several months. I will concentrate on my family after I give birth. However, it will not be a very long break as I plan to return to competition sometime next year," said Nur Suryani.
The 29-year-old made history by being the first Malaysian woman shooter to qualify for the Olympics on merit. She achieved it at the Asian Championships in Doha, in January by finishing fifth in the 10m air rifle.
The Perak-born attributed her success in Doha to her unborn child, as she only found out about her pregnancy two days before competition.
When Nur Suryani takes her position at the shooting range in London, she will be only the fourth pregnant shooter to compete at an Olympics.
The national champion will definitely be in the spotlight when she arrives in London with her husband, Marhazli Mhotar and coach Saidov Isroil, a few days before competition in July 28.
Nur Suryani, who is 26 weeks pregnant, has been accommodating with the local and international media of late but she must forget about it and focus on doing well in London, where she is not among the favourites to even make the final.
She will focus on strengthening her mental toughness in training at the Subang Shooting Range.
Nur Suryani, however, will be keeping her fingers crossed that rifle does not malfunction in London.
At the recent Southeast Asian Championships, her new rifle jammed twice during the crucial stages of her event and she finished last in the final.
"It is not a huge problem as we can get the rifle fixed before the Olympics. I will definitely take along my new rifle," she confirmed.
Nur Suryani is the most successful local shooter in Malaysia for her breakthrough performances of late.
In 2010, she created history by winning Malaysia's first ISSF medal, a silver, in the London leg before becoming the nation's first woman shooter to earn a bronze at the Guangzhou Asian Games, both in the air rifle.
She also ended Malaysia's Sea Games gold medal drought at last year's Indonesia Sea Games by clinching the air rifle and 50m three-position events.