CHENG Chu Sian and Arif Farhan Ibrahim Putra are on course for an all-Malaysian men's individual recurve final after reaching the semi-finals in contrasting fashions at the National Sports Complex archery range in Vientiane yesterday.
Malaysia are also guaranteed a finalist in the women's recurve event when S. Anbarasi and Noor Aziera Taip meet in the semi-finals.
While defending champion Chu Sian breezed through his quarter-final, Sea Games debutant Arif rode his luck in the first round to keep alive his dream of winning a gold medal.
A mistake by Sakhone Bounmixay of Laos in the final end of the first round when he shot a poor six gave Arif a lifeline as the Malaysian squeezed into the last eight 101-100.
Arif, 18, capitalised on his good fortune to beat Witthaya Thamwong of Thailand 106-104 in the quarter-finals to set up a last four meeting with 2005 Sea Games champion Zaw Win Htike of Myanmar.
Chu Sian, who received a first-round bye, posted a comfortable 111-104 win over Mohamad Ali Sofian of Indonesia and will face another Indonesian, Hendro Suprianto in today's semi-finals.
"Arif is young and inexperienced so it is normal that he felt tense at first. He has not been able to translate what he does in training to competition but that will come later.
"If Arif can get to the final our job is done," said national coach Lee Jae-hyung in assuming that Chu Sian should have no problem winning his semi-final.
Aziera was in her element in trouncing Phonephet Thepdoungmala of Laos 105-95 in the first round and Singapore's Vanessa Loh 109-101 in the last eight.
Anbarasi edged Thailand's Pattheera Boonmark 104-100 in the quarter-finals having received a bye in the opening round.
Jae-hyung said he had no preference between Aziera and Anbarasi and will let them battle it out for a place in the final.
"I have confidence in both to let them duel with each other without interference. Whoever is on form on the day will win," he said.
Both women compound archers went out in the quarter-finals with Norhayati Al-Madihah Hashim going down 113-112 to Jeniffer Dy Chan of the Philippines while Thailand's Narisara Tinbua beat Fatin Nurfatehah Mat Salleh 115-108.
Zaki Mahazan was denied a place in the men's compound quarter-finals 117-115 by Indonesia's Igusti Nyoman Puruhito, who also knocked out Leong Fong Ting 112-109 in the second round.