The smile is back on national archer Haziq Kamaruddin as a chance to feature in his third Olympic Games has been revived.
And he has not planned to miss the target again, and is determined to make the trip to the Tokyo Games next year.
Khairul Anuar Mohd, whom Haziq competed with in London 2012 and Rio 2016, had already sealed his spot after claiming a historic silver at the World Championships in Holland last year.
That made Khairul the first Malaysian archer to compete in three Olympics – a feat that the 26-year-old Haziq is determined to match.
All is not lost yet for Haziq, 26, despite failing in his first bid at the world meet last year.
Haziq can still qualify through the team event where three berths are still up for grabs at the Final Qualification Tournament in Berlin, Germany, later this year.
The qualifier, which takes place alongside the World Cup Stage 3, was slated for June 21-28 but it had been postponed due to the rapidly worsening Covid-19 outbreak.
By qualifying for team competition, the archer is also automatically eligible for the individual event.
Haziq sees the delay as a blessing in disguise as it gives him and his team extra time to regroup after a series of uninspiring performances of late.
The trio of Haziq, Khairul and Zarif Syahir Zolkepli had first failed to retain their SEA Games gold for the first time in 2011 in the Philippines last year before returning home empty-handed from the Asia Cup Stage 1 in Bangkok two weeks ago.
“The temporary suspension of tournaments and Olympics to next year could be good for us. Our recent results have not been good, so now we have some time to assess and address the decline once the training resumes, ” said Haziq.
“Failure is not an option at the meet in Berlin. Malaysia have never failed to qualify for the team event since Beijing 2008.
“It also means a lot to me, individually, because qualifying for three consecutive Olympics is a great achievement. Khairul has done it, and I hope to join him.”
Haziq and Khairul, 28, have been an integral part of the national team since they first burst onto scene in 2011.
The duo, then from the national junior team, justified the inclusion by coach Lee Jae-hyung in the national team when they teamed up with Cheng Chu Sian to qualify for the London Olympics through the World Championships in Turin, Italy in 2011.
With different partners, Haziq and Khairul have bagged four medals in the annual World Cup series to date – two silvers (Shanghai 2011 and Medellin 2013) and two bronzes (Salt Lake City 2017 and 2018) and were silver medallists at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
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