APG2018: Aishah takes heart from near-miss and sets sights on Tokyo 2020
13 October 2018
She felt good, the sightings were superb and she calmed herself down to take the opening shot of competition at the 3rd Asian Para Games in Jakarta. Several days earlier, Aishah Samad had cheered her team-mate Logaraj Raju who made the finals of his event and finished an eventual fifth, and she was raring to go.
She fired and it’s a 9.8, clearly not the 10 plus and the start she’d been aiming for.
Aishah Samad hits a new personal best and now takes aim at Tokyo 2020. Photo: Sport Singapore
At the Senayan Shooting Range in Jakarta on Friday morning (12 Oct), the 46-year-old’s campaign in the mixed 10m air rifle prince R5 wasn’t going as planned as her first detail of 103.7 would be the lowest of the six she had to take. At the midway point, she was propping up the 16-shooter field, although improving with details of 105.4 and 104.7.
Not willing to go out with a whimper, Aishah regrouped, and details of 106.3 and 105.8 pushed her back into contention – as high as 7th position with the top eight going through to the afternoon finals.
Then came the bittersweet ending. As Aishah posted a final score of 631.1, a new personal best despite the shaky start, it was quickly apparent her Jakarta campaign was over. Iran’s Zahra Gholamzadeh Pastaki had beaten her to the final spot with her 631.5, a difference of only 0.4 points.
Afterwards, Aishah admitted to being close to tears, not for missing out on the finals, rather from the poor start.
“I wasn't expecting that poor opening detail. That first competition shot of 9.8 made me want to faint! It’s a score I can't imagine having in competition,” she said.
“I definitely paid the price for the slow start and a poor second last shot at the end pulled me down to 9th, and I couldn’t recover.”
It didn’t help too that preparations for this outing hadn’t been smooth as she missed nearly a month of training through illness, and was nursing sprains to her back, arm and neck.
Aishah Samad readies herself for competition at the 3rd Asian Para Games in Jakarta. Photo: Sport Singapore
“I still felt I was adequately prepared and I’m happy I did not give up until the final shot, and that’s my biggest takeaway,” she said.
“The personal best was a real bonus and it helped me get over the disappointment of missing out on the final.
“I didn’t do well at the World Championships in Korea in May, so this is a good bounce back, hitting my best overseas competition score. I believe I may also have knocked down the Tokyo 2020 minimum qualifying standard of 628.8, but that’s yet to be confirmed.”
Asked if it would have helped to have her husband Abdul Aziz Jantan in the stands, Aishah replied: “He had planned to come but was sent for a three-month overseas assignment in September. Still, I’ve enjoyed coming to this Games and meeting up with my friends from the shooting fraternity.
“I also want to thank my fans, friends and family for always sending me their best wishes. I don’t think I can ever get to where I am without them. They’re certainly my strongest pillar.”
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