RIO DE JANEIRO – Rookie Muhammad Akmal Nor Hasrin was forlorn and isolated,
a pale shadow of the player who played a pivotal role to help the national men’s
recurve team qualified for a third successive Olympic Games.
Despite being the youngest and inexperienced, the 21-year-old archer
reciprocated national coach Lee Jae Hyung’s trust when he nailed the bullseye to
help the team progress and eventually beat Germany 6-2 in the Olympic qualifer
in Antalya, Turkey, in June.
However, the intense pressure in Rio Olympics took the toll on him when his
performance failed to help the team to beat France in the elimination round here
Besides Akmal, national top ranked, Khairul Anuar Mohamad and Haziq
Kamaruddin, only amassed 214 points with France recorded 220 points for a 6-2
victory to enable the Frenchmen advanced into the quarterfinals.
Akmal points pulled down the team as Khairul and Haziq were consistent.
Many in the archery circle were taken by suprise when national coach Lee Jae
Hyung fielded Akmal in the team’s qualifier in Antalaya instead of Ikram Joni
who made it into the third round in the individual event.
Akmal however delivered in Antalaya but in Rio he was a disappointment.
Malaysia ranked 12th and last in the ranking qualifer and was disposed by
fifth ranked France in the elimination round.
Akmal’s also ended up 55th in the individual ranking list with 635 points
after 72 arrows while Haziq was 50th with 645 points. Khairul, however, remains
the best archer in the country when he was ranked 22 with 665 points.
The trio will move into the individual recurve rounds on Monday.
Akmal, when approached after the team’s biggest disappointment here, said:
“I will come back in the individual rounds.”
He said that he disappointed the Korean coach’s faith in him as the pressure
took the worse out of him.
“I will make amends and gain the trust again when I compete in the
individual round,” he added.
DC DC CJ