PETALING JAYA: Khairul Anuar Mohamad’s hopes of securing his second World Cup final appearance were dashed after his gallant run was ended by world No.1 Oh Jin-hyek of South Korea in the individual recurve semi-finals of the second leg in Medellin, Colombia.
World No. 10 Khairul went down fighting, losing 3-7 (27-27, 26-28, 28-30, 27-26, 28-29) on Thursday.
He also lost to Jin-hyek twice last year. The Korean, the London Olympics gold medallist, whipped the Kemaman-born 6-0 in the semi-finals in Shanghai in May last year. Khairul was again beaten 6-0 in the last eight in Antalya, Turkey, a month later.
Khairul will now face off with former world champion Kim Woo-jin, also of South Korea, in the bronze medal playoff. Woo-jin, making a comeback after a two-year absence, lost 2-6 (29-29, 26-27, 26-29, 29-29) to compatriot Lee Seung-yeun in the other semi-final.
For Khairul, he will be gunning for his second World Cup medal. He won a silver, Malaysia’s first-ever, in the Shanghai leg in 2011.
Haziq Kamaruddin was Malaysia’s second-best performer of the day. He managed to reach the round of 32 before succumbing 2-6 (26-29, 27-27, 27-27, 26-27) to eighth seed Yong Zhiwei of China.
National No. 2 Atiq Bazil Bakri failed to clear the round of 64 after going down 5-6 (29-29, 29-26, 26-28, 28-29, 27-25, T8-T10) to Egyptian Ibrahim Sabry.
Debutant Muhammad Ikram Joni, the other Malaysian representative, never managed to clear the first round, consisting of 128 archers, after losing 2-6 (27-25, 26-28, 24-28, 24-28) to Puerto Rico’s Javier Irizarry.
After the individual event, the Malaysians – Khairul, Atiq and Ikram – will compete in the team elimination on Saturday against Canada.