THE men and women lined up, took aim with their bows and arrows, and fired. There was nothing of the fancy stuff that archers in other competitions have. This is barebow archery.
Some 124 barebow archers converged at SMK Bandar Tasik Selatan in Kuala Lumpur to show off their skills and compete.
It was the second in a series of national circuits hosted by the National Archery Association of Malaysia.
These meets have a twofold aim: to highlight barebow archery’s raw talents and select the crème de la crème to fly Malaysia’s flag in international competitions.
This gathering, marked by the sound of stretched bowstrings and the participants’ dedication, showcased their genuine artistry and skill as archers.
The recently concluded series witnessed a surge in participation and a remarkable leap in performance quality, outshining its predecessor.
Barebow, characterised by the absence of sights and stabilisers on a minimalistic Olympic Recurve Bow, has increased since its endorsement as a target archery discipline at the World Archery Congress in 2020.
With each outdoor season, these archers challenge themselves to hit a 122cm target face from a staggering 50m away.
Meanwhile, their indoor pursuits are measured at an 18m distance.
As the arrows flew during this event, tales of talent, tenacity, and upsets unfurled, cementing the standing of barebow in the archery world.
In the men’s Barebow individual qualification rounds, Sabahan archer Harold Sulaiman delivered a standout performance, clinching the top rank with a score of 624/720 from 72 arrows.
The previous year’s champion, Mohd Pakhurazi Mohd Sharif from Pahang, closely followed with a score of 608/720.
Matching his score but ranking third was newcomer Darren How of Kedah. Despite the identical scores, Mohd Pakhurazi’s higher count of “10s” and “X” secured him second.
Selangor claimed the first and second positions in the women’s Barebow individual qualifications, with Haniza Rahim scoring 566/720 and Nor Anizan Zainuddin tallying 551/720. Nur Effaniza Tahar secured the third spot with a score of 538/720, ensuring her position in the subsequent elimination rounds.
The tournament saw representation from 39 women from various states.
Pahang’s Mohd Pakurazi Mohd Sharif led the Men’s Open division board with 608/720. His teammate, Abdul Azim Abdul Aziz, followed in second place, while Amir Aiman Mae of Negeri Sembilan ranked third.
The Selangor men’s Barebow team seized top position in the qualifiers with some impeccable shots. Pahang and Johor secured the second and third spots, respectively.
Selangor, Pahang, and Negeri Sembilan emerged as the frontrunners for the women’s team event, advancing to the finals.
The finals brought their share of surprises, particularly in the men’s gold medal showdown.
None of the top seeds reached the medal matches, having been ousted during eliminations.
Selangor’s premier Barebow archer, Said Hawa Mohd Salleh, who ranked fifth in the qualifiers, took the gold, edging out teammate Nor Idzuwan Mohammad. Darren How of Kedah clinched bronze, besting Johor’s Mohd Rizal Mahat with a 7-3 set-point advantage.
In the Women’s Barebow segment, gold went to Nur Effaniza Tahar of Negeri Sembilan, silver to Azura Mohammad from Perak, and bronze was bagged by Pahang’s Zuraini Azan.
In a turn of events during the team finals, Melaka outperformed Johor to win gold in the men’s category, while the Negeri Sembilan women’s team bested Selangor to claim the championship title.
The second National Barebow Circuit was expanded to include two more divisions – Men’s and Women’s Open and Masters, a testament to its growing popularity.