By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian archery men’s recurve team failed in their bid to reach the quarter-finals of the World Championships after going down 206-212 to Taiwan on Friday.
But there was still cause for joy, as recurve archer Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman managed to secure a spot in the Beijing Olympics next year.
Marbawi will join fellow teammate Cheng Chu Sian in securing two places for Malaysia in the men's individual competition.
The International Archery Federation (FITA) announced the quota spots on Friday. For the first time, Malaysia would have two men archers qualifying for the Olympics on merit.
Despite finishing below the top 16, Marbawi was eligible for the quota spot because the positions of the archers are not taken into account if their respective countries had qualified from the team competition in the first place.
Marbawi finished 27th while Su Siang was ranked eighth in the overall individual rankings.
The eight countries that have grabbed Olympic quota spots for the team competition were South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, Canada, Italy, United States, Great Britain and Poland.
For Marbawi, making the grade for Beijing on merit will be the biggest highlight of his career after winning two gold medals in the Vietnam SEA Games in 2003.
Marbawi was Malaysia's best performer in the individual qualification round, finishing 19th with 1,326 points.
The chubby looking archer also shot a new national record over the 90m distance when he shot 321 points to better the previous national mark of 319 set by Su Sian in the Asian Grand Prix circuit held in Kuala Lumpur last year.
The Malaysian side comprising Su Sian, Marbawi and Wan Abdul Aziz Khalmizam would have earned a quota spot in the team event if they had beaten the Doha Asian Games silver medallists Taiwan in the first round tie.
However, the Taiwanese side handled the nerves better in the decisive moments to pull through.
Female archer Mon Redee Sut Txi was the first Malaysian to qualify for the Olympics in Athens in 2004.
The world meet was the first qualifying event for the Olympics and 40 places were at stake in the respective men's and women's competition. Altogether, 64 men and 64 women would qualify for the Olympics. As the hosts, China, are allowed to field the maximum of three men and three women archers.