Laid-back archers

The Star Online>4/8/2008

ARCHERY

Venue: Olympic Green Archery Field
Competition dates: Aug 9-15
Medals at stake: 2-2-2

THE TEAM
Men (team and individual):
Cheng Chu Sian, Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman, Wan Khalmizam Wan Abdul Aziz
Manager: Tan Sri Abdul Halil Mutalif
Coach: Lee Jae-hyung

Final preparation: South Korean coach Lee Jae-hyung having a word with Wan Khalmizam while Mohd Marbawi and Chu Sian work on their target practices.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian archery will certainly come under the spotlight at the Beijing Olympics following the good performances by their men’s recurve team.

But Cheng Chu Sian, a quiet person by nature, will not allowed the attention and glamour get to his head.

Malaysia will bank on SEA Games gold medallist Chu Sian, Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman and Wan Khalmizam Wan Abdul Aziz to nail the first medal for the country in Olympic archery.

The trio have raised a hope for a medal following good performances in international tournaments over the last two years.

Their latest exploits were in the third leg of the World Cup in Turkey in June – winning the silver medal, a first for Malaysia in the series.

Although honoured to represent Malaysia at the Beijing Games, the 22-year-old Chu Sian said that the team had kept it low key in their preparation at Bukit Jalil.

“There has been a lot of focus on us but we have been cool about it. We did not do anything special as part of preparation for the Games. We kept mostly to our normal routines,” said Chu Sian, before leaving for Beijing yesterday.

“The Olympics are big but we try to treat it as just another event. It helps deflect the pressure. We did not want to make it hard on ourselves by doing something different or getting into the hype of things. We hang out just how it was before.”

Chu Sian added that the standard of archery among the men’s teams was quite even.

“Everyone knows that South Korea are the heavy favourites in the women’s event. But it could be anyone’s game for the men. There is always a new winner in the individual event from different countries. That is how close it is in the men’s competition,” said the Penangite.

Among their rivals are the teams from the United States, Australia, Italy, South Korea and China.

“Currently, we are ranked at number four in the world. Everyone says that we have a better chance in the team than the individual but I think, we have chances in both the events,” said Chu Sian.

“It all depends on how we handle ourselves on that day. So far, our preparation had been good and we are looking forward to the Games. We do not want to be so worried about the results. We just want to have fun over there.”

He said that their three-week training stint in South Korea had been beneficial.

“We had match practices everyday with the professional archers. The quality of training was high. The Koreans trains around the clock and it was good to be stretched to the limit,” he said.

Chu Sian is happy that there is great team unity.

“Marbawi, Khalmizam and I have been together for a while now. We can work well as a team.

“The most important thing is that we are supportive of each other. This will be important as we try to achieve good results in the Olympics.”

The team event begins on Aug 10 followed by the individual Olympic round.

Team manager Tan Sri Abdul Halil Mutalif said: “The team have improved a lot since coming under the charge of South Korean coach (Lee Jae-hyung). He is a dedicated coach.

“We are going in with a medal chance but there is the luck element that we must not forget. Sometimes, external factors like windy conditions can be a stumbling block. But our boys have prepared well to face any conditions and we hope that they will be able to stand up to the challenges.”

It is the second time that Malaysia are represented in archery at the Olympics. In Athens in 2004, Mon Redee Sut Txi was a wild card entry.

~ by missjewelz on August 12, 2008.

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