By RAJES PAUL
Archer Cheng Chu Sian will not let the sweeping change in the men’s archery team to derail Malaysia’s hope of bagging a double again in the SEA Games.
In fact, he will it take upon himself the task to lead the inexperienced archers to greater heights in the competitions in Laos from Dec 13-16.
There are two rookies in the team – Arif Farhan Ibrahim Putra and Fazli Hisham Fauzi. And senior Wan Mohd Khalmizam Wan Mohd Aziz is the other member of the team.
Two other experienced hands – Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman and Mohd Zulkifli Tahil – failed to make the team. Zulkifli was dropped just last week to give Fazli the opportunity to feature in the Games.
Chu Sian, who starred at the last Games in Korat and won the individual and team gold medals, said it was not impossible to repeat the feat.
“I have been taking part in the SEA Games since 2003 (in Vietnam). There have always been a new face in the team in each of the following Games and I am not worried over changes,” he said.
“As a senior in the team, my mission is also to help and guide this new generation of archers to attain success. Eventually, they will take over from us.
“It is important to maintain our composure and I will do my best to advise them on how to control their emotions. So far, we have been working well as a team.”
Chu Sian said that a dip in form that saw a Malaysian team suffering a first-round defeat at the Asian Championships in Bali recently served as a wake-up call.
“The defeat taught us important lessons. It showed what we lacked as a team. We have been working on those areas in training,” he said.
For Chu Sian, a change in the format of competition in the Laos Games will make the events more competitive.
Instead of the Fita qualifying format requiring archers to shoot arrows at four distances (90m, 70m, 50m and 30m), the competition takes a double 70m distance qualifying format.
“This format was used at the Beijing Olympics. Under this format, the qualifying round ends faster and the scores among archers and teams will be quite close. It does not give anyone room to make mistakes. It is easy for others to catch up,” he said.“Thailand and Indonesia are competitive. We will not have an advantage there but we have a good team spirit and that should see us through in our attempt to win both the individual and team gold medals.”