Thursday, December 17, 2009

Memorable year for Fatin

FATIN Nurfatehah Mat Salleh had 12 months to remember in only her first year with the senior national compound team.

First, it was winning her maiden Asian Grand Prix title in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year before landing a Sea Games silver medal in the women's compound team event at the National Sports Complex in Vientiane yesterday.

The medal was the first by the compound women since their debut at the Sea Games in 2005 and, for once, stole the limelight from their recurve counterparts.

Fatin said the unexpected silver medal should finally put to rest the debate over whether the National Sports Council's archery programme should be fully extended to the compound archers as well.

"I think definitely this result has opened a few eyes. What we have done goes to prove we can also challenge for honours at international level," said Sabah-born Fatin, 18.

Nur Hidayah Abdul Latif, Saritha Cham Nong and Fatin thrashed Laos 224-202 in the quarter-finals before upsetting second seeds Thailand 211-204 for a place in the final.

But defending champions Myanmar ended the Malaysians' gallant run with a 217-214 victory, but only after surviving a scare in the final end when an eight from Saritha's penultimate arrow allowed Myanmar to break a 198-198 tie.

"We thought we might be able to reach the final, I think we were 80 percent sure, and I told my teammates to just stay relaxed.

"Although we lost, we still won Malaysia's first medal in women's compound and it's been a good year for me," said Fatin, who is now eyeing a Commonwealth Games medal in New Delhi next year.

The men's compound team, however, failed to draw inspiration from the women in a high-scoring 231-226 defeat to Indonesia in the quarter-finals.

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