The historic Malaysian compound archery team members show off their gold medal after winning four titles at the Singapore SEA Games on Sunday. - FAIHAN GHANI/ The STAR
SINGAPORE: Malaysia missed a full house of gold medals in compound archery.
In the end, Malaysia had to be satisfied with winning four out of the five golds at the stake at the Kallang Cricket Ground on Sunday. The odd one out was debutant Zulfadli Ruslan. He agonisingly missed out on the individual title by a single point, losing 137-138 to Vietnam’s defending champion Nguyen Tien Cuong.
Otherwise, Malaysia would have been the first nation to make a clean sweep since the non-Olympic discipline's inception at the 2005 Manila SEA Games.
Still, it was Malaysia’s best-ever outing as they managed to end their 10-year gold drought.
World Cup winners Fatin Nurfatehah Mat Salleh, Saritha Cham Nong and Nor Rizah Ishak started the ball rolling, powering past Thailand 223-210 in the women’s team final in the morning.
The men’s trio of Mohd Juwaidi Mazuki (pic, top left), Lee Kin Lip (right) and Zulfadli followed suit by edging Indonesia in a nail-biting contest. The match ended level at 222-222, but the Malaysians displayed superb calmness to post a 10 each for a perfect 30 to the Indonesians’ 29 in the shoot-off.
Juwaidi and Fatin (pic, above) then clinched gold No. 3 when they beat Thailand’s Maneesombatkul Kanyavee and Pratheepwatanawo Chanchai 151-140 in the mixed team final.
Pint-sized Fatin, who turned 24 on June 4, wasn’t finished though. She grabbed her third personal title, beating two-time champion Amaya Cojuangco of the Philippines 138-136 in the individual final.
“Today is certainly the happiest day of my life. After four Games appearances, I finally won not only one, but three golds!” said a jubilant Fatin, who also became the first Malaysian archer – recurve or compound – to claim a treble.
“It’s my best birthday present ever, although a belated one,” she added.
Head coach Adnan Ahmad, in charge of the squad since 2009, described his team’s success as “unbelievable”.
“Before the start of the competition, I thought the best we could do was probably a gold. Maybe a couple of medals ... but four golds? No way,” said Adnan. “But we did it. I’m really proud of my archers. They deserved the victories.”
Earlier on Saturday, the recurve archers contributed one gold, two silvers and one bronze.
Malaysia emerged overall champions with a haul of five golds, three silvers and two bronzes.
The Star Online