Tokyo – National archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad was good. But his South Korean opponent Kim Woojin was near perfect, in fact, to win 6-0 and end the Malaysian’s Tokyo Olympic journey in round three of the men’s recurve individual event today.
The world number five South Korean served early notice of his intent when he shot three 10s for a perfect score of 30 in the first set at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field here while Khairul Anuar could only reply with a 27. Woojin goes 2-0 up.
The second set saw the South Korean shoot a near-perfect 10-9-10 for 29 points while Khairul Anuar had three 9s for a 27. Woojin goes 4-0 up.
Former world champion Woojin was again in sublime form in the third set, firing his arrow right at the bullseye three times in a row for 30 points.
Although Khairul Anuar deserves praise for coming close – shooting 9-10-10 for a 29 total – he knew that he lost to a better opponent as the South Korean wrapped up a 6-0 win.
When met by reporters, Khairul Anuar admitted that the South Korean archer was in a different league although “I gave it my best”.
“Today, Alhamdulillah, I was better prepared compared to the previous rounds where I was a bit distracted.
“I was more focused this time but he (Kim Woojin) was way better than me although I gave it may best today,” said the 29-year-old Khairul Anuar, who is now 0-5 in his head-to-head record against the South Korean.
He said he would now focus on getting ready for several major tournaments next year, among them the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England; Asian Games in Hangzhou, China; SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam; and the World Championships in the United States.
“Actually I pay more attention to the recurve team event. My participation in the individual event is like a bonus to me.
“I will now definitely make a concerted effort to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. I need to improve in terms of shooting (the arrows) in future tournaments so that I will be really prepared for the 2024 Games,” he said.
Asked about the gap in standards between Malaysian and South Korean archers, Khairul Anuar explained that the South Korean archers are taught the basics of archery at a younger age compared to their Malaysian counterparts.
“I began representing Terengganu in the 2008 Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Terengganu and it was only when I entered the Bukit Jalil Sports School in 2011 that I was given an in-depth explanation on the basics of archery.
“That’s what differentiates the majority of Malaysian archers compared to South Korean archers, who frequently dominate world-level competitions. But I have to say that although we are introduced to the basics of archery at a later stage, it is not impossible for us to challenge them one day,” said Khairul Anuar.