Archer Khairul can still regain spot in Podium Programme

PETALING JAYA: The door is not closed on Olympian archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad although he has been axed from the Podium Programme.

Khairul, who has competed in three Olympics, can fight his way back but he has to prove himself in selection trials just like anyone else.

National Sports Council (NSC) Athletes Division director Jefri Ngadirin said the national body were looking for a fresh start after the recurve team were disbanded following their failure to return with golds at the Vietnam SEA Games in Hanoi in May.

The decision was made earlier but they allowed the archers to complete their contracts until August before exiting.

Khairul, a silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships in Holland, has contributed much for the nation. In fact, it was Khairul’s batch who won Malaysia’s first archery gold in the SEA Games, once dominated by Indonesians.

“We had to do something as the national recurve team had not been producing results in recent times, and it was decided that the team will be disbanded and the elite archers dropped from the Podium Programme,” said Jefri.

“Khairul failed to produce results in the last two SEA Games and the Olympic Games too.’’

In Hanoi, Khairul won silver in the mixed recurve with Syaqiera Mashayikh.

He also bagged two bronzes in the individual recurve event and the men’s team recurve with Mohd Zarif Syahiir Zolkepeli.

Jefri said all the youngsters from the recent Malaysia Games (Sukma) would get a chance to prove themselves during the trials, which will be conducted by the National Archery Association of Malaysia (NAAM) in the next two months.

“The selection trials and local tournaments will be open to all. If Khairul proves himself, of course, he can return to the Podium Programme,” added Jefri.

South Korean Lee Jae-hyung, who was promoted to national coaching director after the Tokyo Olympic Games last year, will remain in the set-up.

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