KUALA LUMPUR: The Olympic dream is still on for SEA Games doubles gold medallist Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman although the qualifying tournament for the Athens Games has ended.
The 21-year-old Marbawi may join his teammate and Olympic-bound Mon Redee Sut Txi thanks to a wild card.
The National Archery Association of Malaysia (NAAM) have appealed for Marbawi’s inclusion in the Athens Games to the Asian Archery Federation (AAF).
“Marbawi could not compete in the Olympic qualifying tournament in New York last year due to visa problems,” said coach Othman Abdul Wahab. “But he has showed much improvement and we have appealed for him to be considered at least as a wild card entrant.”
The chubby Marbawi, who won Malaysia’s first gold medal in the Vietnam SEA Games and ended the country’s 26-year wait for a first gold in the SEA Games archery competition, is quietly hoping he will get lucky.
“It will be great if I can get the wild card for the Athens Games. Wild cards are usually given to archers based on their current form. I will have to keep on improving and just hope for the best,” said Marbawi, a sports science student of Universiti Institut Teknologi Malaysia in Shah Alam.
Yesterday, he attended a John Hancock-Olympic Council of Malaysia award ceremony for athletes who won gold medals at the Vietnam SEA Games last December. He pocketed RM1,700 for his double gold medal effort.
His next assignment is the first leg of the Asian Archery Grand Prix Circuit in Bangkok from Feb 16-22. Although the GP is not an Olympic qualifier, a good show may increase Marbawi’s chances of getting the wild card.
“After winning the two gold medals in the SEA Games, I want to raise my game to the Asian-level. I have never gone beyond the quarter-finals in the Asian GP. This time, I will be out to clear the last eight hurdles,” said Marbawi, who has resumed his training under national coach Lee Jae-hyung at Bukit Jalil.
Sut Txi was the first Malaysian archer to confirm a place for the Athens Games. The SEA Games double silver medallist qualified for the Olympics in the Asian Championships in Yangon in October, finishing third out of 16 archers in the continental qualification competition.