New PH rifle shooting records set by Valdez, Acuña

PALEMBANG -- Two Philippine rifle shooting records were achieved by gunners Jayson Valdez and Amparo Acuña in the 2018 Asian Games at the Jakabaring Shooting Range in Palembang, Indonesia on Monday.

Valdez and Acuña competed in the men's and women's division of the 10m Air Rifle shooting competition and were able to make their country proud through their momentous achievement.

Valdez, who was not able to compete in the last Asian Games in 2014, placed 17th overall with a score of 618.6. Despite not making it into the finals, he surpassed his own Philippine record of 618.5, a feat he achieved at the 2015 World Cup in Changwon Korea.

"I'm happy because I didn't lack in anything," Valdez said in Filipino. "I'm satisfied with that performance knowing that I wasn't able to compete (to train) abroad."

In Valdez's last Asiad stint back in 2010 in Gunagzhou, China, he finished 24th overall with a score of 585.0. Eight years later, he has proven that he's better than ever. However, the young shooter expressed that he could have done better.

"I'm a bit unsatisfied," he admitted, knowing that he didn't pass the qualifiers. "Maybe the pressure was still there. In the next competition, I'll probably have a better showing."

Valdez said that even though there was a lack of training and exposure to international competitions, he was happy to prove to himself, and to those who doubted him, that he was still able to compete at a high level.

Acuña, meanwhile, was able to set the Philippine record in the women's 10m Air Rifle division even though she won't make it in the final round. She scored 603.7 and settled for 40th place.

"I think it's a big achievement because it's not only a Philippine record, it's the first record of this set up of 10m Air Rifle," said Acuña "So I think it's really good. It's a start. It's a good bench mark."

For the first time in the Asian Games, the women's division applied the same rules for the men's. In previous shooting competitions, women had to shoot 40 shots as oppose to the men who shot 60. This time around, both the men and the women each had 60 shots to fire. Acuña's feat is the first of its kind in Philippine women's 10m Air Rifle shooting.

And since it was Acuña's first time to compete in this format, she admitted that the 60 shots will eventually take time to get used to.

"It's the expectation of 'Okay, I'm in my 4th string, it's about to end soon, but I still have two strings to go. I still have 20 shots left,'" she recounted, citing the need to complete all six strings (10 shots per string). "Maybe it takes getting used to, more practice, and more exposure with this set up."

Despite not making it into the finals of their respective divisions, both Acuña and Valdez were able to achieve Philippine shooting records. The two shooters will each have one more Asian Games event, the 50m Rifle 3 positions, throughout the week.