Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kelantan indoor archery cup 2017 - Part 2

The fellowship of archers
A day of reckoning...

The alarm rang. It was 05:30am in the morning. I loaded my gear onto the car and since it was a tad too early, I took a walk around the neighbourhood.
There was ample time to have breakfast and shoot straight to PUTIK and set up our shooting gear for the competition.
We had breakfast in Kota Baru's Chinatown before heading off to Pengkalan Chepa where the tournament was held.

At the shooting line during practice session
The bird-flu scare...

Kelantan was under the scrutiny of Health Authorities after an outbreak of the H5N1 virus was reported.
This prompted many archers to pull out, fearing the contagious disease.
That said, there were only nine barebow archers taking part. Some came at the very last-minute and to my surprise, they were really good!
Prior to commencing the shoot, event director coach Wan Abu Bakar gave a briefing and told us how the format works.
Each person is given one minute to enter the waiting area and another two minutes to shoot.
Since the Kelantan Indoor Archery Cup 2017 is a World Archery sanctioned event, it is officially recorded on video. Results and ranking are also posted on-line.

Champion barebow archer Suhairi Ariffin in action

Wan Rohazian, runner-up at the barebow tournament
Penang's Jeffery Pang won the bronze medal
Kelantan's full of surprises!

There were nine archers in the barebow category. Eight out of the lot will go to the elimination rounds.
Apart from Wan Rohafizan, who is a familiar face in the barebow circuit, most of the other guys were complete strangers.
At the shooting line, I met Jeffery Pang, an archer from Penang. The guy shot very well and was a real livewire.
Ouf the nine, there were three non-Malays. 
During qualifying, I was assigned to lane 1 and shot with Suhairi Ariffin an archer who originates from Kelantan.
A man of few words, Suhari shot 28 points at the first end of round one.
Almost immediately, I was shooting with one of the best barebow archers in the country.
I caught up with him and was told that he had only started barebow archery three months ago. Prior to that, Suhairi was a traditional archer.
That said, it was no surprise he shot 260/1 and 255/2 to earn 515 points and ranked first in the tournament.
During the finals, it was Wan Rohafizan vs Suhairi Ariffin. After five ends, Suhairi took the match and won.
He became the first sponsored archer to take part at the International Barebow Championships in Bangkok later this year. 
Rohafizan took the silver medal while bronze went to Jeffery Pang.

Coach Wan Abu Bakar announcing the winners of the Barebow shootout
Champion archers: Suhairi and Rohafizan
A journey of self-discovery...

I beat my personal best by scoring 206 points in round one. That's keeping calm under heavy pressure and putting as many arrows as possible in the smaller rings.
In round two, I managed to score only 181 points and came in seventh. After two rounds, my total score was 387. I came in ranked 6th at the event. Didn't really matter to me at all, but the defining moment for me was the ability to score more than 200 points at a tournament. This is the reward for constant training and personal improvement. In the months to come as the Thailand Princess Cup archery tournament is building up, I hope to maintain my training scores at 200 points. The only factor that is bothering me is astigmatism. I can hardly see under the poor lighting conditions and my aim was badly affected. I hope to fix this in the months to come. That said, the Kelantan event was an eye-opener and a really well-organised event. Kudos to coach Wan Abu Bakar for putting up a good show. We hope to participate at the event again next year...

Kelantan indoor archery cup 2017 - Part 1

Our first archery tournament at the East Coast...

I have very low expectations when I signed up for the 2017 Kelantan Indoor Archery Cup in Kota Baru.
A fellow archer Wan Rohafizan had alerted me about the tournament taking place in mid-March and it didn't take long for me to get the details to sign-up.
This is the second year such an event is being organised in Kelantan and what got me really interested was the location of the tournament.
Jeff, my shooting buddy and I represented the Subang Barebow Archers. Michelle is nursing her post-surgical wounds and will be out of action until May this year. The other archer, Mr Lau is changing his shooting style after a poor performance in Bangi.


Like any other tournament, we spent time training at the range. Our aim is to get a nice grouping on a 40cm, 10-ring target face. This is the standard shooting format at all indoor tournaments for Barebow archery.
The last time we shot, was in Bangi. Following that, we trained at our range. Getting shot placements, grouping and consistency in check and balance.
Since Kota Baru is about 1,200km round trip, we had to book our accommodation in advance. My preferred lodging is Tune Hotel which is located near the city centre. Since I had to drive, the car was serviced for the long-haul.
After paying the tournament fees (RM100/US$22.60) we secured a place at the shooting line.
My choice bow was the Hoyt Tiburon. I grew very fond of this modern traditional takedown bow. For arrows, it's the Easton Axis Traditional size 500 carbon shafts.

The fantastic journey...

At the old Gua Musang train station in Kelantan

Samo made his mark in Kelantan...

Enjoying a late lunch before heading off to the event venue
We left KL a day before the tournament and took a long drive via the Bentong - Kota Baru trunk road.
The journey was a breeze as there weren't many vehicles on the road. I wanted to show Jeff, my shooting partner Gua Musang in Southern Kelantan. We had a short break there before proceeding towards Kota Baru.
By late noon, we arrived in the city and went straight to get our lunch. The choice makan place was Lim Siong Kee Beef Noodles located opposite Tune Hotel.
Jeff loved the beef noodles and compared it with the branch in Puchong, Selangor. He said the one in Kelantan tastes even better. Maybe he was really hungry!
After a good fill, we made our way to Pusat Tarbiah Islamiah Kelantan (PUTIK) located near the airport.
There was some confusion on Google Maps as the apps navigator led us to the airport's departure terminal instead.
After a phone call was made, we were redirected to the actual place. It was supposed to be registration, equipment inspection and practise. But that didn't happen.

We met a fellow barebow archer Wan Rohafizan at the PUTIK hall. He was there earlier to compete in the Men's Recurve open event and was ranked 12/16. 
Wan is an aspiring barebow archer who has also competed at the International Barebow Championship in Bangkok last year.
His experience is invaluable as barebow archers are growing in numbers. 
We indulged in a conversation and also met Simon, a Singaporean who organised the IBC event in Bangkok.

 After hours...

We scouted the location and felt that it was time to head back to town, check-in at the hotel and prepare for the tournament day.
Jeff was really suprised with Kota Baru as a city. The impression he had was a backwards town that is repressed.
What came as a surprise was beers in Chinatown and roasted pork in skewers. We had a meal in town and chilled out with a couple of beers before hitting the sack...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Staying in the game...

Patience and practise...

I picked up my bow nearly two years ago and there hasn't been a moment of regret. From the Martin Panther takedown recurve, I've added a few more bows to my keeps.
Since the first time I shot my bow, I have been constantly practising at our range in Subang Jaya.
That said, we kept in the loop by entering local tournaments to hone our minds and overcome performance anxiety.

The road to Bangkok 2017

One of the highlights of the year will be the Princess Cup Archery tournament in Bangkok, Thailand.
We look forward to this and learned a lot from our first-time experience competing with some of the best barebow archers in the Southeast Asian region.
The Thais are no stranger to shooting a bow without sight and they are very good at it. Nearly 60% of their archers made it through qualifying rounds.

The team in Bangkok last year
The Princess Cup tournament was a real interesting learning experience. We are now honing our shot placement and consistency.
That said, the local tournaments held around the country actually helped us to gauge our ability to perform under pressure.

"Malaysia Cup"

Just a few months after the Thailand event, we took part in a small tournament in Perak. This was an eye-opener to most of the barebow archers in the country.
Many are still grappling with the concept of shooting a modern bow without the aid of an aiming sight.
Most barebow archers are still shooting with the "split-finger" release technique while a handful of archers shot with the "three-under" release technique with is apparent with good barebow archery.

Shooting at round 1 of the Malaysia Cup in Perak

At an indoor tournament in Malacca
We did pretty okay at round 1 of the local tournament in Perak. I came in at 10th place while Michelle, my wife took 11th.
In the months that came, we went back to Perak for round 2.
That's when the organiser had changed the height of the target stand resulting in some surprises.
The top-seeded archer from round 1 went crashing. 
Now that more archers are becoming aware of the barebow event, some new talents sprang up in Perak.
As for me, I did badly shooting two rounds at the tournament. I scored 274 points and my shot placements were really poor.
We left Perak with our heads down. A new champion had emerged and the biggest upset was the second-seeded archer from round 1 had gone down to the 28th placing.

With my buddy Jeff in Perak during round 2

The qualifying round 

Combined ranking...

I was rather surprised with the overall combined ranking after two rounds of the Malaysia Cup. (There are four stages and the winners of the league championships will be sponsored for Thailand Princess Cup in June).
My team members were in the top 20 place after two rounds.
I came in at 9th, while Jeff's score placed him at 17th on the final tally.
Most who didn't shot in round 2 were ranked lower due to the lack of points collected.
The results motivated us to train harder. The real test in my humble opinion will be the 2017 Thailand Princess Cup in Bangkok.
Registration will open in April and this time round, we will be mentally prepared to take on some of the best barebow archers in the region...