KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — The ability to stay calm under pressure was the key to national woman archer Syaqiera Mashayikh recording her personal best score on the first day of the recurve archery event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics today.
The 20-year-old admitted to feeling nervous before the start of the ranking round of the women’s individual recurve event at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field since this is her first Olympic outing.
Syaqiera, whose plan was to enjoy a positive start to the Games, said it was nerve-wracking competing against the world’s best women archers, especially those from South Korea, even though she was thoroughly prepared.
Thankfully, she managed to suppress her anxiety and stay cool in the heat of the battle to focus on her task.
“I felt nervous because this is my first Olympics and the challengers are all world-class athletes. But, Alhamdulillah, I managed to control my emotions when shooting the arrows to record a personal best of 630 points,” the former Malaysian Sports School student, who only earned a slot to Tokyo at the last minute earlier this month, she said in a telephone interview from Tokyo today.
“The difference of 11 points in archery is quite high, it’s a good achievement for me,” added the Segamat-born archer, who studied at the Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School in Bandar Penawar until Form 1 before moving to the Pahang Sports School in Gambang.
Syaqiera will take on Russia’s Elena Osipova in the first round of the women’s recurve individual event on Tuesday (July 27).
In today’s ranking round, world number 355 Syaqiera finished in 43rd spot after collecting 630 points to improve on her previous best of 619 points which she achieved at the final Olympic qualifier in Paris last month.
It proved to be a positive day for Malaysian archery when Khairul Anuar Mohamad then ended his ranking round in the men’s recurve individual event in 20th spot after shooting 72 arrows to collect 661 points.
Khairul Anuar, who is featuring in his third Olympics after the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro editions, said he never let the three-medal (including one gold) target set for the national contingent affect his concentration.
“It is every athlete’s dream to win a medal at the Olympics, so there is no issue of it weighing me down. Anyway, I always set my own targets in any competition, including the Olympics, that I participate in,” said the 29-year-old.
The world number 15 is set to meet Finland’s Antti Vikstrom in the first knockout round on Wednesday (July 28).