By Amiril Muttaqien Meketar
KUALA LUMPUR: Surprised and excited. That’s how national woman recurve archer Syaqiera Mashayikh felt when it was confirmed that she will represent Malaysia at the July 23-Aug 8 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Syaqiera never expected to be given the golden opportunity when the National Archery Association of Malaysia (NAAM) decided to select her to carry the country’s challenge in the women’s individual recurve event and mixed team event with national champion Khairul Anuar Mohamad in Japan.
The 21-year-old Syaqiera said that the Tokyo Games would be her first Olympic outing and her third international assignment, having competed in the two tournaments in Paris, France – the 2020 Olympic Games Qualifying Championships and Archery World Cup Stage 3 – last month.
“Thank you NAAM for selecting me for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Of course I am proud to represent the country in Tokyo. I will try to do my best there,” she said when contacted today.
Syaqiera had previously missed her chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after losing to Swiss archer Valentine De Giuli 6-2 in the second round of the women’s individual recurve event at the 2020 Olympic Games Qualifying Championships, which happened to be the last Olympic qualifier.
She and her teammates, Nur Ain Ayuni Fozi and Nurul Azreena Mohamad Fazil, also failed in their bid to qualify for the Tokyo Games in the team event after losing 6-2 to Brazil in the first round of the team event at the Qualifiers.
NAAM president Datuk Abdul Hamid Hasan told Bernama on Tuesday that Malaysia had obtained a slot to Tokyo after World Archery found that some among the 64 qualified archers did not meet the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) of 605 points for the women’s event.
He explained that Malaysia obtained the slot because they had athletes who had surpassed the MQS.
Based on results of qualifying championships in Paris, Syaqiera and Nurul Azreena chalked up 619 points each while Nur Ain Ayuni collected 594 points.
At the Archery World Cup Stage 3, Syaqiera obtained 619 points while Nur Ain Ayuni and Nurul Azreena obtained 605 and 600 points respectively.
Meanwhile, national women’s archery coach Muhammad Marbawi Sulaiman said Syaqiera was selected by the NAAM selection committee after obtaining 619 points and surpassing the MQS, besides having performed better than the other two archers at both the meets in Paris.
Marbawi, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is thrilled to see Syaqiera competing in this year’s edition in Tokyo and wants her to gain as much experience as she can.
Only two other women archers have featured in the Olympics, namely Mon Redee Sut Txi at the 2004 Athens Olympics and Nurul Syafiqah Hashim at the 2012 London Olympics.
Khairul Anuar had earlier confirmed his ticket to the Tokyo Olympics by winning a silver at the World Archery Championships in Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands in June 2019.