17/06/2024 10:19 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 (Bernama) -- For the first time in 16 years, Malaysia will not have archers competing in the men’s category of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games which starts next month.

The bleak conclusion comes after the hope of three national representatives to grab a last-minute slot to the world's most prestigious and biggest sporting extravaganza was dashed when they were stranded in the preliminary rounds of the men's individual recurve event in the Paris Final Olympic Qualifier held from June 14 to 17 in Antalya, Turkiye.

Muhammad Zarif Syahiir Zolkepeli, ranked world number 197th, passed the first round brilliantly, but was upstaged in the second round, losing 2-6 at the hands of 16-year-old young archer from Cyprus, Thoma Christos who is ranked 483rd in the world.

The country's 16-year-old teen archer Muhammad Danish Amsyar Norazlan was also stumped in the second round by the world's 50th ranked archer from Bangladesh Md Hakim Ahmed Rubel, losing 2-6.

In what was the last chance to qualify for Paris, another young 19-year-old national archer, Muhammad Syafiq Busthamin, managed to qualify for the third round, but again stumbled at the crucial stage to Azerbaijan's Mahammadali Aliyev who won the encounter 6-5.

On Saturday, the national men's recurve team lined up three archers against Indonesia but lost 0-6 early in the first round, thereby dashing hopes of seeing Malaysia make a comeback in the men's event after also failing to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo edition.

Malaysia has never missed out on having male archers compete at the Olympic Games in individual or team events since the 2008 Beijing edition.

Earlier on Friday, three cheers resounded for Malaysia as the national women's recurve trio of Ariana Nur Dania Mohamad Zairi, Nurul Azreena Mohamad Fazil and Syaqiera Mashayikh created history when they qualified (for team quota of three archers) for the Olympic Games for the first time after reaching the final in Antalya.

They narrowly lost 4-5 to the Chinese trio in the final action and took home the silver medal.

Last year, Ariana Nur Dania had successfully secured a ticket to Paris 2024 in the women's individual recurve event after winning the gold medal at the Asian Continental Qualifying Championships in Bangkok in November (2023).

As for Ariana, she has qualified for Paris a second time, her (quota) spot in Turkiye was handed to another country.




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