Jonathan Wong Guanjie


Armed and ready

Article from the Sun daily by Rachel Law (posted on 21 April 2016)

JOHNATHAN Wong Guanjie may appear as playful, and it was precisely this fun-loving disposition that led him into the sport of shooting and studying aerospace engineering. But looking at his athletic and academic performance hitherto, it's clear that Wong's the sort who's in it to win it.

"It all started because the Melaka Shooting Association was recruiting people. My elder sister joined, and I followed suit because I thought it was cool to be dealing with guns! Really, who isn't fascinated by them?" quipped the 24-year-old.

But Wong did not anticipate the hobby to take him this far. Last year, the Padang Temu native made the country proud when he brought home a silver medal from the Singapore SEA Games, and just last February thrilled the nation when he qualified for Rio 2016 Olympics, after championing the 10m air pistol event at the qualifying tournament.

Needless to say, his schedule is growing intense by the day that he has to defer his studies. On top of training from 9am to 7pm for five days a week, Wong competes internationally once a month, with local matches to conquer in between. But the jovial lad is not complaining; shooting is a challenge that is very personal.

"I enjoy shooting, because you're not really up against anyone. You're shooting in your own lane, you control the situation. Getting nervous at a competition is when you need to control and challenge yourself to overcome your mind otherwise you'll lose confidence. It's fighting with your inner self that's interesting," he noted.

Would you say shooting is an unpopular sport?

Yes, actually. When you mention shooting, the first thing that comes to Malaysians' mind is archery. And when I tell them we use guns, what they don't know is we shoot static targets. While most sports require movement, shooting is the only sport that not only doesn't require you to move, it requires you to not move. It's not an ordinary sport.

Do you need to have perfect vision to shoot?

We don't require perfect eyesight, but it's better to have good eyesight – and I'm not talking about short-sightednessor anything like that; we do have shooting spectacles. Good eyesight in the sense of endurance and consistency because the eyes can get tired of concentrating on one area for say, 1.5 hours in a qualifier. Besides having fine movements, the most important things to have when shooting are concentration and a strong mindset.

How does training for shooting differ from that of other sports then?

If you're a sprinter, you train for power and strength. For us, we train our stability, muscle strength and endurance. Cardio is very important because when you get nervous, your heart beats faster. A good cardiovascular system pumps more oxygen, reducing the heart rate therefore allows you to control the situation easier and be more stable when the nerves kick in.

Aerospace engineering is not a conventional subject. Why did you choose to pursue it?

When I applied for university, I had mechanical engineering in automotive in mind. But in the midst of registering, I saw aerospace engineering in the list and thought, That's so cool. Of course, you'd choose something that interest you so it ended up as my first choice, and mechanical engineering as my alternative. I never thought I'd get it, so I was shocked when I saw the results!

You're in your third year now; we're assuming that you enjoy it?

My senior gave me a heads-up that I might not be able to focus on shooting if I take up aerospace engineering, but I decided to try it out and balance my schedule. To date, I'd say I've been managing it quite decently, looking at my results. I quite love it – of course there are a few subjects that I'm struggling with – so I can't say that I regret taking it up. Could you share an insight you strongly believe in? When you have a goal, don't just dream of the outcome but imagine the process. If you focus on the outcome you might not get it. But if you plan the process you're more likely to achieve your target.


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