KUALA LUMPUR: Seasoned archer Cheng Chu Sian has put the sport back on an even keel after a commendable showing in the opening leg of the Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok recently.
Boosted by his promising start, he wants to continue to restore the national archery team’s fortunes by qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games.
At the Asian GP, which ended on Feb 21, Chu Sian showed that he was on the right track.
He finished fourth with a score of 662 in the 70m distance in his first international tournament of the year.
Prior to the Asian GP, there was uncertainty over the future of archery under Malaysia’s highly-rated 2012 Road to London programme.
Archery was in the danger of being axed from the programme following the below par performances of Chu Sian and his team-mates at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and Asian Games in Guangzhou in November last year.
But the National Sports Council (NSC) gave Chu Sian and three other archers – Wan Mohd Khalmizam Wan Aziz, Ariff Farhan Ibrahim Putra and Muhd Izzuddin Abdul Rahim – a reprieve last month but warned that they would not hesitate to drop them if their poor form persisted.
In New Delhi last October, Chu Sian, Ariff and Izzudin settled for the team silver medal while Chu Sian only managed to qualify for the individual quarter-finals.
Chu Sian said that he was happy to get archery back on the right track with a promising start in Bangkok.
“This is a very important year for us. The Olympic qualifying period will begin soon and we have to get our game going again,” said Chu Sian.
“We were unsure of our future after the Asiad last year. In fact, some of us resumed our studies in universities as we feared that we would be dropped from the Road to London programme.
“But when we were given a reprieve, we had to defer our studies yet again,” said Chu Sian.
“The Bangkok outing showed that we are on the right track.
“We now have proper programme to follow and targets to achieve. Our training under coach Lee (Jae-hyung) has also picked up pace.”
Chu Sian and company will get cracking for the World Cup in Porec, Croatia, from May 2-7. They will also compete in the World Championships in Italy in July.
“We will be taking part in several friendlies here to keep us on our toes.
“Ultimately, my goal is to seal a ticket to the Olympics at the world meet.”
Besides archery, the other sports in the Road to London programme are badminton, cycling, diving, football, hockey and shooting.