Wednesday, 3 September 2014 | MYT 9:48 PM
Archers check into Incheon, ready for Asiads
Khairul Anuar Mohamad and Atiq Bazil Bakri are expected to deliver for Malaysia at the Incheon Asian Games. — filepic
PETALING JAYA: The archery recurve team are the first group of national athletes to have arrived in Incheon, South Korea, for the 17th Asian Games from Sept 19-Oct 4.
The four-man squad of Khairul Anuar Mohd, Atiq Bazil Bakri, Haziq Kamaruddin and Muhd Ikram Joni, head coach Lee Jae-hyung and his assistant Marbawi Sulaiman have been in the host city since Aug 26.
They are undergoing their final phase of preparation and will stay there until the Games officially kick off on Sept 19.
The women’s recurve team, despite not being part of the Asiad, have tagged along for the trip but will return home once their stint is over.
National Archery Association of Malaysia (NAAM) executive secretary Ab Karim Zainuddin believes that the three-week training stint in South Korea will provide the archers ample time to acclimatise to their surroundings.
“It’s very important for our archers to get used to the surroundings there, especially the climate and wind conditions,” said Karim, who added that the men’s target is to reach the final.
“Three weeks should be more than enough for Khairul and his team-mates to get their act together for the Asian Games.
“We expect Jae-hyung and his boys to meet the target set for them.
“There will no more excuses for them not to deliver ... especially after the sluggish performance at last month’s Asian Grand Prix in Taiwan (where they lost to the hosts in the quarter-finals).”
A dismal outing at the Asian GP, which served as an Asian Games warm-up event, has seen Malaysia drop four rungs to 12th position in the latest World Archery Federation (FITA) world rankings.
Malaysia are now ranked behind Asian Games rivals South Korea (No. 1), Japan (No. 4), India (No. 5) and China (No. 9).
The only saving grace at the Asian GP was Khairul’s bronze medal in the individual recurve after he downed Japan’s Hideki Kikuchi 6-0 in the playoff.
Malaysia, a four-time silver medallist at the World Cup, had only a semi-final finish in Antalya (Turkey) in June – which happens to be their best showing this season.
Khairul and his team-mates reached the quarter-finals of the season-opening leg in Shanghai in April followed by a first-round exit in Medellin, Colombia, a month later.