KUALA LUMPUR: National archery coach Lee Jae-hyung has high hopes for his 2012 London Olympic Games squad this year although his men can only train as a team once a week.
The Korean is determined not to let the situation affect his plans and aims to draw the best out of his elite men archers — Mohd Marbawi Sulaiman, Cheng Chu Sian, Wan Khalmizam Wan Abdul Aziz and Nazrin Aisat Mat Nasir.
Except for Marbawi, the other three archers, who have been earmarked for the 2012 London Olympic Games, are juggling between studies and sport.
“Only Marbawi is a full-time trainee. He trains in the morning and afternoon. The others undergo physical training in the morning (6.30-7.30) before heading for their academic classes,” said Jae-hyung in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
“They train in the afternoon but at different times because they are taking different courses. All four are only able to train together on Saturdays.
“Their studies are important and I have designed their training programmes to accommodate them. I have to make do with this situation for now.
“What is important to me is that they give full attention during the limited time we have in training.”
Jae-hyung is also happy with the government’s full support for archery which, together with badminton and cycling, has been named under the Road to London programme that will see the three sports enjoy great benefits from the government — including large funding.
To justify the archery’s inclusion in the programme, the Korean said he would groom the athletes to do well in two major tournaments this year — the World Championships in South Korea in September and the Laos SEA Games in December.
“We have listed the archers for many competitions this year. The main focus is the World Championships and we hope to achieve our best results there,” he said.
“The other goal for us is to maintain our supremacy at the SEA Games.”
Malaysia’s best effort in the biennial World Championships is a fifth spot in the team event (in 2005 Madrid) and a quarter-final finish in the individual event (through Chu Sian in Germany in 2007).
Since the 2003 Vietnam Games, Malaysia have emerged as the overall champions in the SEA Games.
The other competitions lined up for the archers this year include the two Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur; three World Cup stints in Croatia, Turkey and Shanghai; Summer University Games in Serbia; and the Asean Championships in Indonesia.
After three-month of inactivity, Jae-hyung admitted that the condition of his archers was well below par.
“I hope to get them back on the right track for their first international stint — the Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok (Feb 18-24),” he said.