Archers aim to earn more Tokyo tickets in honour of Haziq

PETALING JAYA: National recurve archers have an extra motivation to pull off the impossible at the Olympic Games qualifying tournament in Paris.

Both the men and women’s teams are determined to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as to fulfil the wish of their late teammate Haziq Kamaruddin, who passed away recently.

National coach Lee Jae-hyung has named Zarif Syahiir Zolkepeli as the replacement for Haziq for the Olympics qualifying tournament in Paris from June 19-21. Zarif will accompany Khairul Anuar Mohamed and Mohd Akmal Nor Hasrin.

For the women, Jae-hyung has named Nurul Azreena Fazil, Syaqiera Mashayikh and Nur Ain Ayuni Fozi.

The men’s team are hoping to qualify for their third Olympics while the women’s team are hoping to make the cut for the first time.

“I’ve named the team for the qualifiers. I’ve picked Zarif together with Khairul and Akmal. We are sending a women’s team too, ” said Jae-hyung.

“We will try our best to get both the men and women to qualify for the Games. Our women’s team have never made it to the Olympics before.”

So far, only Khairul has qualified for the Olympics but in the men’s individual event.

Khairul, Haziq and Akmal had competed in the last Olympic Games team event but they did not win any medal.

Hope is now on the 22-year-old Zarif to make up for the absence of the experienced Haziq. On paper, Zarif has the pedigree to shine as he has done better than Akmal in several events.

He has the experience of competing together with Khairul and Haziq at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines but then, Malaysia failed to defend the men’s recurve team title after losing to Indonesia in the final.

Before the Olympics qualifier, the three-men and three-women teams will first take part in the Asia Grand Prix in South Korea from June 6-12 and Jae-hyung has named Bryson Ting and Nuramalia Haneesha Mazlan as the reserves in the respective teams.

The archers will also take part in the World Cup in Paris after the Olympics qualifier from June 22-28.

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