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Wednesday May 30, 2012

Women archers chase Olympic spot while men out to gauge form

PETALING JAYA: The women will be chasing Olympic quota spots but the men also have their work cut out for them in the final leg of the Archery World Cup in Ogden from June 19-24.

The American city also plays host to the final qualification meet for the London Olympics and national coach Lee Jae-hyung is hoping for some good news from his charges.

There were no surprises as Jae-hyung picked Khairul Anuar Mohamad and Haziq Kamarudin to make their London Olympic debut with veteran Cheng Chu Sian for the men’s recurve team.

Medal hopes: (From left) Khairul Anuar Mohamad, Cheng Chu Sian and Haziq Kamaruddin qualified for the London Olympics last year and stand an outside chance of winning a medal at the July Games.

Khairul, Haziq and Chu Sian were the first Malaysian athletes to qualify for the Games when they earned a quota spot at the World Championships in Italy last year.

The trio subsequently bagged the gold in the Asian Championships in Iran and won the national Best Men’s Team award last month.

However, they have failed to reproduce that form this year and suffered first round eliminations at the World Cup legs in Shanghai and Antalya.

Malaysia lost 222-224 to Taiwan in Shanghai and were beaten 223-223 (tie-break 25-26) by Olympic hosts Britain when Turkey hosted the second leg in Antalya earlier this month.

It is important for the men’s team to start showing some of their ability and rise to the occasion in Ogden.

Malaysia, represented by Chu Sian, Marbawi Sulaiman and Wan Khalmizam Wan Abdul Aziz, reached the quarter-finals in their first Olympic appearance in Beijing four years ago, but Jae-hyung is aiming for the current batch to shoot their way to the medal rounds.

“They haven’t been lucky in the World Cup legs but I’m not discounting their chances of striking an Olympic medal.

“Chu Sian is consistent with one World Cup individual bronze medal and I can depend on him.

“It’s a matter of time before Khairul returns to the form he showed last year in winning a World Cup individual medal so it’s only Haziq who needs to regain his confidence.

“South Korea may be the strongest but any of the 16 teams competing have a chance to fight for the Olympic medals,” said the Korean, who has been coaching here for almost a decade.

Jae-hyung would certainly be over the moon if the women archers succeed in qualifying for the Olympics as well.

Competing in Ogden are Shahira Abdul Rahim, Nur Amirah Mohamad, Ng Sui Kim and Nurul Syafiqah Hashim.

Nurul has already qualified through the Asian Championships in Iran but Malaysia can only compete in the team event if Shahira, Nur Amirah or Sui Kim win two additional Olympic quota spots for the country.

It is an uphill task, however, as the women archers can expect nothing less than stiff competition with only four tickets left to fight for.

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