S'pore shooter faces suspension

S'pore shooter faces suspension
Five-time SEA Games gold medallist Choo Choon Seng is facing a possible suspension following a serious safety breach during a training session at the National Shooting Centre in Choa Chu Kang in April.

While his teammates bask in the spotlight following two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, things are not looking bright for Singapore trap shooter Choo Choon Seng.

The 42-year-old, who did not compete at the Games, is facing a possible suspension following a serious safety breach during a training session at the National Shooting Centre in Choa Chu Kang.

The Singapore Shooting Association (SSA) declined to reveal details about the incident as investigations are ongoing.

However, it is believed that during a training session in April, Choo fired his weapon while someone was in his line of fire.

The SSA confirmed that a three-man panel, chaired by vice-president and high performance chief Soo Kwok Seng, is investigating the incident.

Most of the evidence has been presented to the panel, and a verdict is expected to be reached next week.

SSA president Michael Vaz told The Straits Times: "We take safety very seriously, and we cannot ignore this incident. The panel will consider all evidence thoroughly before coming to a conclusion."

When contacted by The Straits Times, Choo would only say: "For now I will just carry on preparing for the competitions, and wait for the decision next week."

The five-time SEA Games gold medallist has already been hit by sanctions following the incident.

Last week, he was suspended for three months by the Singapore Gun Club (SGC), which operates the shooting ranges at the National Shooting Centre.

The suspension means that he can use the range only when the national team is training, and not on his own as an SGC member. The investigation also leaves Choo's participation in the Sept 19-Oct 4 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in serious doubt. He is slated to compete in the men's trap competition, his pet event.

The SSA will try to get a replacement if Choo is indeed suspended, subject to approval from the Singapore National Olympic Council. Besides the Asian Games, he was also preparing for the Sept 6-20 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Shooting Championship in Spain.

Choo last represented Singapore in the Beijing leg of the ISSF World Cup last month. He shot 111 points in the men's trap qualification, and did not make the finals.

The incident threatens to overshadow the decent showing of the shooting contingent at the Commonwealth Games this past week. The team won two gold medals at the quadrennial meet. Teo Shun Xie won the women's 10m air pistol, while Jasmine Ser won the 50m rifle three-positions event.

This article was first published on August 2, 2014.
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