Archery: Khalmizam stands out
By LIM TEIK HUAT
KUALA LUMPUR: Wan Khalmizam Wan Abdul Aziz, the least experienced of the current top three Malaysian men recurve archers, showed he can be counted on to deliver in the Beijing Olympics with a fighting display in the second-leg of the World Cup in Porec, Croatia, on Thursday.
The 22-year-old was the best performer among the three Malaysians competing in the knockout stages, reaching the quarter-finals.
Khalmizam chalked up an upset win in the first round when he knocked out seventh-seed Lee Chang-hwan of South Korea 114-112.
He went on to beat Marin Coello of Mexico 109-106 in the second round and qualified for the last eight after edging Daniel Morillo of Spain in sudden-death after both archers were tied on 109-109.
However, Khalmizam’s run ended when he lost 105-112 to world No. 18 Rahul Banerjee of India.
His team-mates – Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman and Cheng Chu Sian – were eliminated in the first and second rounds respectively.
Marbawi lost 104-110 to Thomas Aubert of France while Chu Sian overcame Mongolian Gantugs Jantsan 111-109 before bowing out in heart-breaking fashion, losing in sudden-death to top seed Ruban Viktor of Ukraine.
Ruban and Chu Sian tied at 108-108 and the Ukrainian needed two rounds of sudden-death shootout to advance to the last 16.
Khalmizam was the last of the three Malaysian archers to qualify for the Olympics from the Asian Championships in Xian last year and it enabled Malaysia to compete in the team competition for the first time.
Chu Sian and Marbawi had made the grade from the World Championships in Germany earlier in July.
Although Khalmizam failed to reach the medal rounds, the Kota Baru-born archer can be proud of attaining his best performance to date at a world-level competition.
Having beaten one of South Korea’s top four archers, Khalmizam, who qualified for the elimination stages in 58th spot, can head for Beijing with an extra spring in his steps.
“All the top archers competed here and it was just like a world meet. It was a good test for the archers and they know what they need to improve on before August,” said Malaysian coach Lee Jae-hyung.
Chu Sian, Marbawi and Khalmizam will return to the range today for the team competition.
Malaysia will open their campaign against Asian Games silver medallists Taiwan in the first round and a win could see them pitted against Poland or China.
The two Malaysian women recurve archers, who qualified for the elimination rounds, made early exits. S. Anbarasi lost to South Korea’s Kwak Ye-ji 97-111 and Irza Hanie Abu Samah fell 98-105 to Victoria Koval of Ukraine.