Khairul Anuar Mohamad narrowly lost to former world No. 1 Kim Woo-jin of South Korea in the individual men’s recurve bronze medal playoff in Colombia on Sunday. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: The World Cup medal continues to elude Khairul Anuar Mohamad after the world No. 10 archer succumbed to a narrow 4-6 (27-29, 28-28, 28-27, 27-29, 29-29) loss to former world No. 1 Kim Woo-jin of South Korea in the individual men’s recurve bronze medal playoff in Medellin, Colombia.
The 23-year-old fought back to level in the third set on Sunday after finding himself trailing 1-3, but still could not stop Woo-jin, a double gold medallist at the 2011 Torino World Championships, from making a successful return to the international scene after a two-year absence.
The title went to South Korea’s Lee Seung-yeun who thrashed his compatriot - reigning world No. 1 and Olympic champion Oh Jin-hyek 6-0.
The Kemaman-born Khairul last stood on the podium in Shanghai three years ago when he became the first ever Malaysian to win a World Cup medal. He was a losing finalist and claimed silver then.
Despite Khairul’s failure to end his medal drought in Medellin, there were a few positives gained.
Firstly, he should be moving up the world rankings by a spot or two.
Secondly, he is back on track to qualify for his second consecutive season-ending World Cup Finals, having made his debut – also Malaysia’s first ever - in Paris last year.
The 20 points earned has put him in sixth spot with two remaining stages in Antalya, Turkey (June 10-15), and Wroclaw, Poland (Aug 5-10), left before the final top qualifiers go for a showdown in Lausanne, Switzerland.
But most importantly, Khairul seems to have found a way to deal with his right shoulder problem.
Earlier this year, he revealed that the recurrence of his right shoulder injury had caused limitations to his bow-pulling strength.