By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
Pistol specialist Tanyaporn Prucksakorn, though distracted by the internal conflicts within the Thai shooting association, says her focus is on shooting a good score at the Olympics, where she will be representing the country for the second time.
Tanya said she had been oblivious to the happenings at the association for quite some time now as her priority was to train hard at the Royal Artillery Barracks, the venue for the shooting competition at the London Games.
“I must admit that I was distracted at the beginning,’’ said the 22-year-old sharpshooter, who is currently ranked No 7 in the world in the 10m air-pistol category.
“I was keen to know what they were saying, doing or fighting about. After a while, I realised it didn’t do me any good. So I stopped and started focusing on my training,’’ said the national shooter, who finished seventh in the sport pistol event on her Olympic debut in Beijing four years ago.
The rifts within the association have been going on for many months. It reached a point where the Sports Authority of Thailand had to intervene. The consequences were difficult, particularly for national shooters, who had to spend money from their own pockets for bullets.
According to Tanyaporn’s father and coach Chai, three national shooters, including Naphaswan Yangpaiboon and Jakkrit Panichpatikam, had to borrow money to purchase bullets since the beginning of the year. Each shooter needs at least 100 bullets a day and each bullet costs Bt15. They spent more than half a million, he said.
The association, in the meantime, has promised that all the expenses borne by the shooters would be reimbursed later. With the London Games approaching, they had no choice but to rely on their own sources for funding, said Chai and added that, “they will worry about the payment afterwards.”
“I feel a little disappointed sometimes but I try not to. It may take a long time to clear the bills. Anyway I still have to stay focused and work hard because my goal is to do better in this Olympics,’’ added Tanyaporn, who will enter in two events – the 10m air pistol and 25m sport pistol – like her team-mate Naphaswan. Jakkrit will compete in the same categories in the men’s division.
Though she had unimpressive results in the April’s London Prepares Series, a warm-up for Olympics competitors, where she fired 574 for 31st place in the 25m sport pistol and 379 for 32nd in the 10m air pistol, Tanayaporn redeemed herself in the Munich World Cup in May. She shot a stunning 387 in the preliminaries before ending with a final score of 485.7 to claim her first World Cup silver medal.
Such performance sparked some hopes for the Olympic Committee of Thailand, which regards her as a dark horse in London. Tanya, however, doesn’t think so.
“There were some good shooters who skipped the Munich meet. It cannot be compared to the field in London. I’d love to win something of course, but as for now my goal is to finish higher than the seventh place.”