THE archery trio of Cheng Chu Sian, Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman and Wan Khalmizam Wan Abdul Aziz will have to get cracking from the start if they are to make history for Malaysia in the men's recurve team competition at the Olympic Green Archery Field today.
Yesterday was a rest day for the male archers as the women's team competition took to the stage. But the Malaysians still took to the field for a practice session.
The trio have already achieved their objective to avoid the fancied South Koreans in the quarter-finals and will take on the winners of the tie between Italy and Canada. If they reach the semi-finals, they are likely to play against either Taiwan or Ukraine, who were the silver and bronze medallists at the last Olympics in Athens.
Malaysia finished third in the ranking rounds on Saturday to earn a first-round bye for the team competition.
Chu Sian, Marbawi and Khalmizam shattered their previous national record of 1,980 with a total of 1,993. Khalmizam also went two points better on his individual national record of 672.
Coach Lee Jae-hyung is hoping that their trio would maintain their composure going into the knockout rounds today.
“We have achieved our aim to get into the top four but it's still too early to talk about winning a medal.
“All three of our archers have to be on target from the start from the quarter-finals and we’ll take it from there,” said the Korean, who has been coaching in Malaysia since 2001.
Although the archers have given good displays in their Olympic debuts so far, Jae-hyung has reason to refrain from getting carried away.
Italy, spearheaded by defending individual champion Marco Galiazzo, are tipped to play against Malaysia for a place in the semi-finals.
Chu Sian, Marbawi and Khalmizam have been kept away from the Malaysian media and whether this will help them overcome stage fright when they shoot in front of a packed audience remains to be seen.
But if they can hold their nerve well, Malaysia can expect their first-ever Olympic medal outside badminton this evening.
South Korea (top seeds, bye) vs winners of Australia vs Poland; Russia (fourth seeds bye) vs winners Britain vs China; Malaysia (third seeds, bye) vs winners Canada vs Italy; Ukraine (second seeds, bye) vs winners Taiwan vs US.
sources : The Stars