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No automatic berths for archers

INDONESIAN COACH … Francisco giving valuable tips to an archer.

24th January, 2016

By FRED LEONG Fred@newsabahtimes.com.my

KOTA KINABALU: There will be no room for complacency for all archers, including elite and contracted archers aspiring to be selected for the state archery squad (boys and girls), for the Sukma.

There will not be any automatic or wild card entries for the current 25 aspiring trainees as well as elite archers who are having contracts (monthly training allowances), with the Sabah Sports Council (SSC).

The trainees plus several elite archers, who created history of sorts in the last Sukma in Perlis for bagging a total of four gold medals, seven silver medals and five bronze medals, will be tested in three selection shoots.

Sabah Archery Association (SAA) president Datuk Haji Abdul Zainie Aucasa said this to the archers who are fighting for berths during the first phase of the first selection shoot which commenced at the Archery Range in Likas yesterday and ends on Feb 24.

Coaches Paul Leong, Indonesian professional archery coach Francisco (former Indonesian international archer), Gabriel Liew and Charley Chia were busy recording the scores of every trainee during the selection shoot yesterday.

Zainie said, this is the first such shoot, while the second and third similar shoots will be conducted in April and May, where the coaches will constantly monitor every archer’s scores to determine their consistency and also record those who remain stagnant or drop in form.

“We have listed 25 trainees as well as a few elite archers, who are currently pursuing their studies in Peninsular Malaysia namely, Delaine Bonilong, Mandy Lee and Syazawani Wilson, where we hope they would be available for the next shoot, prior to the state Sukma centralised training in early June,” he said.

“We will give everyone the chance to prove their worth during these selection shoots after having been placed under intensive training since last year by the coaches, which is part of our Sukma preparations.”

Elite archers battling for berths at yesterday’s shoot were compound archers Otto Wong Co Wan, Roniza Ronnie, Mecedger Sage, Diana Tsen, Bryan Wong, recurve archers Ahmad Afiq Akhiroman, Adam Wong and Caroline Fread, while the rest were from Keningau, Tawau, Papar and Kota Kinabalu listed from SAA’s junior back-up squads from as young as 15 years old.

He added, SAA will be sending a team of both compound and recurve archers to compete in the 1st National Circuit and Wira Open from Feb 24-28 in Kuala Lumpur, the pre-Sukma meet in Kuching from March 4-8, the Johor International Archery Championship from March 23-27 and the 2nd National Circuit from June 1-5.

They have also decided to send a few selected archers to compete in an international meet in Sydney, Australia in May and also a three-week overseas training stint, sparring sessions and competitions in Indonesia also in May, before the toning down process.

“All these meets will be our platforms to determine the cream of the crop, especially those who show good consistency, progress and highly motivated and competitive modes, for the coaches to determine the individuals and the teams,” he said.

“We will be naming our full Sukma teams comprising 16 archers for the Sukma challenge, and as for our preparations, I am happy though we faced some initial glitches with our overall preparations (thanks to SSC), where I also wish to thank all the parents who have been very cooperative all this while.

“The parents especially those from outside Kota Kinabalu know that to make it to the final squad will be tough, especially the new and young archers, but they too have a good chance to be selected as well, basing on their enthusiasm.”

Zainie pointed out, such cooperation and understanding is very vital when it comes to naming the eventual boys’ and girls’ teams, and on the same note, he was happy to see parents group together to prepare and cook food at the Range for the trainees.

He is fully aware that hosts Sarawak are going all out to capture the overall title this year and archery in particular, where a majority of their archers are presently being drilled overseas for training and competing at much higher level competitions.

He said, despite that, they will try their level best to battle for honours in Kuching, hoping to better their last Sukma feat.

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