It could very well turn out to be a third time the charm outing for national recurve archer Khairul Anuar Mohd (pic) at the forthcoming Olympics.
At least, that’s what national coach Lee Jae-hyung is praying for after having done his duty to guide Khairul to his third Olympic Games – which has been rescheduled to July 23-Aug 8 in Tokyo next year.
Khairul, who qualified for the Tokyo Games by virtue of winning a silver medal at the World Championships in Holland last year, represented Malaysia at the London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016) Olympics but returned home without any medals.
Jae-hyung believes that the years of experience will make all the difference for Khairul this time.
“It’s not easy for a non-South Korean to win an archery medal – whether in the Olympics or World Championships, ” said Jae-hyung.
“The Koreans are dominant while others have to be in the business for at least 10-15 years to break their stronghold.
“American Brady (Ellison) won the world individual gold last year – the first non-Korean to win it in 15 years.
“Brady tried for many years before getting it right.
“Khairul joined the national team in 2011 and since then has been one of our top archers.
“He has about 10 years of experience and I think, the time is right for him to win his first Olympics medal.
“In his London debut, he lacked experience. In Rio, he was affected by a shoulder injury. We hope he can get it right in Tokyo.
Jae-hyung, who has been coaching Malaysia for more than a decade, said he has been finding ways to better equip Khairul.
“He has the skills. His condition is much better. I’m looking at ways to give him the extra edge.”
Jae-hyung is also focusing on the men’s team of Khairul, Haziq Kamaruddin, Zarif Syahir Zolkepli and Mohd Akmal Nor Hasrin – to qualify for the Olympics.
The team had to put their bid on hold as all tournaments, including the qualifier World Cup Stage 3 in Berlin, Germany, were postponed until the end of June due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The archers report to me three times a week from their homes. This sport is not something you can do anywhere. Their bows and arrows are at the training centre, ” said Jae-hyung.
“They are being monitored by the nutritionist and psychologist. We’ll make up for the lost time when the suspension is lifted.”
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