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Friday November 16, 2012

Jae-hyung’s next target: Raising standard of women archers

KUALA LUMPUR: National archery coach Lee Jae-hyung thrives on challenges and his objective next year is to transform the Malaysian women archers into world-class contenders.

The men have sizzled under the Korean’s guidance in the last four years, making waves in the World Cup series, Asian Championships and qualifying for the Olympic Games.

But the women have failed to make the grade. Since Mon Redee Sut Txi qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics, the women archers have had to live in the shadow of the men.

Nurul Shafiqah Hashim qualified for the London Olympics but was knocked out in the opening round. Jae-hyung has been busy in the last few weeks identifying new faces for the elite squad.

He has disbanded the old team, except for Shafiqah and Shahira Abdul Rahim, and brought in newcomers Nur Aliya Ghapar, Sunantra Su Chat, Jassinta Minos, and Farah Amalina.

“I will give a lot more attention to the women archers. With more quality training, competition and exposure, we can help raise the standard of these archers,” said Jae-hyung, who is in his 11th year as national coach.

“Previously, we had a smaller pool of women archers ... I have increased the number. Some are inexperienced but they will pick up pace with regular training. We want to prepare a stronger team for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“We have depth in the men as seen in the three-member team qualifying on merit for the London Olympics. We will try to add more depth to the women’s team as well.”

The three men who qualified for the London Olympics were Cheng Chu Sian, Khairul Anuar Mohd and Haziq Kamarudin. Khairul emerged as the top performer with a creditable quarter-final finish.

The 26-year-old Chu Sian has called time on his national duty after nine long years to focus on the final semester of his Mass Communication studies at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

In his absence, Jae-hyung has added two more archers – Atiq Bazil Bakri and Mohd Ikram Joni – to the men’s team.

All the archers are training at Bukit Jalil and will get their first taste of competition in the new season at the Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok in January.

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