Thursday, December 13, 2007

South Korean helps jittery recurve team to wrest the gold

THE Malaysian men’s recurve archers almost became their own worst enemies yesterday.

But South Korean coach Lee Jae-hyung helped to calm the nerves of Cheng Chu Sian, Wan Mohd Khalmizam Wan Abdul Aziz and Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman during the breaks and they went on to wrest the gold from Indonesia at the Suranaree University of Technology in Korat.

They defeated the Indonesians, led by singles bronze medallist Sulistyawan Rahmat, 213-211 in a 48-arrow shoot final played over four ends.

While the men regained the gold, there were heartbreaks for the women in their defence of the title and also the men's compound team.

The women's recurve team of S. Anabarasi, Irza Hanie Abu Samah, Noor Azira Taip were beaten 198-204 by Indonesia in the final while the men's compound team settled for a bronze, beating Singapore 217-212 in the playoff.

With the success of the men's recurve team, Malaysia ended their campaign in archery with a haul of 2-2-1. The other gold was won by the 21-year-old Chu Sian in the individual recurve on Tuesday.

Chu Sian said that the pressure almost got to the team yesterday.

“We had three Olympians in the men's team. The expectations to deliver were so high on us and we allowed it to affect our game today. We certainly could have scored higher,” he said.

“The coach kept encouraging us. Fortunately, we hung in there to achieve our target here – to win both the individual and team gold medals.”

Chu Sian added that the SEA Games exposed their lack of mental strength and they needed to work on this aspect in their preparation for next year's Beijing Olympics.

Marbawi, surprisingly, was the most jittery archer and he was relieved that he did not let the team down.

“I could have spoiled it for Malaysia today. But team spirit was high and I was able to hang in there. I am disappointed with my score and hopefully, I will get back my touch in my preparation for the Olympics,” he said.

Jae-hyung was happy that the recurve team kept true to their words by winning both the men's gold medals.

“There were no national mark or Games record but the boys delivered what was expected from them. I am satisfied with that. They were just too tense today. And that is something I need to work on,” he said.

“The target for the women was to reach the final and I am happy that they also lived up to expectations. We have new faces in the women’s team but I am sure they will only get stronger as a team the next time around.”


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