Monday, August 3, 2015

Monster Chill Archery Tournament - Round 2

Samo's first archery tournament..
At the tournament site in Tanjung Keling, Malacca
My buddy cikgu Lau asked if I am interested to join him at a traditional archery tournament in Malacca.
It was posted in Facebook sometime back by a company called "Monster Chill Archery" which is based in Malacca.
Ironically, this retail outlet is also said to be one of the best archery pro shops in the country.
The only thing that caught my attention: is the Samick Sage bow that they are selling. I was told that it's available off the shelves.
The tournament was in it's second-stage of a 12-round grand-slam.
At the end of it, there is a RM15,000 cash prize waiting for the winner with the highest points accumulated from the tournament.

A first time for everything...

I have never competed before and going to the Monster Chill tournament is a good experience for me.
Prior to departure, Lau said he will drive and my plan was to split the cost with him.
The tournament organizers catered food and there was no entrance fees charged for competitors.
At the venue ground in Tanjung Keling, I was told by Zahir Yousuff, the organizer, that some 1,000 people had signed-up.
"We had to cut off at 400 and many couldn't make it today (Aug 1) because they were turned back at Putrajaya."
Despite that, the turnout was really good.
Archers representing teams, schools as well as individuals came from all over the country.
Noticeable, were men in traditional costumes and their Korean horse bows. Some even made their own bows from PVC pipes.
At the Men's traditional bow category, there were more than 290 contestants.
The morning began with a briefing from the official and an elimination round.
Lau was competitor number 285, while I was given 290 as my official number.
We waited till mid-noon till our number was called to the respective lanes.

Making new friends: Lau talking to a fellow archer from Kuala Lumpur

Registration for the Men's traditional category
Special preference..

Lau told me that since there weren't enough non-Malay contestants, we were given two spots to take part. 
Initially, I wasn't keen at all. 
And in a crowd consisting Malay and Islamic warriors, we stuck out like sore thumbs. The organizer also allowed takedown recurve bows to be used in the traditional tournament. As lot as there's no target sight. I am fine with that. So, my choice bow for this tournament was my Martin Panther #45 takedown recurve bow.
But seeing as it is, I decided to keep Lau company at the event.
I must say that I was very nervous when our turn was up.
Participants were given 1 minute 30 seconds to shoot 9 arrows onto the target bud.
I watched from a distance as the participants shot away during the practice rounds and eventually lined up in a row to determine if they have what it takes to move forward to the second round.
The format was very simple: at 30 yards, the archer must put his arrows into a target paper and at the end of the 1 and a-half minute shootout, get the highest points earned.
There were judges to take score and entertain protests. And the way it was organized, I must say that Zahir's team had done an excellent job.

Traditional archers in action

The compound bow category

Judges taking points at the elimination round

Stay calm, shoot tight..

When you stand in a row of 10 archers, there's a lot of tension and nervousness.
Letting go 9 arrows in 1 minute 30 seconds can make a man fumble.
Arrows were flying everywhere, some bounced off the hard ground and made it's way to the brush while some hits it's intended target.
In such a short time with more than 20 ends back-to-back, the crowd of 290 men were reduced to 64 archers during the elimination round.
My turn was up and I was at the last lane (10 lanes per end).
I was trying very hard to calm my nerves and my first arrow landed low.
There was enough time to compensate as I slowly zeroed-in on the target paper.
By the end of the shootout, I had two arrows in the outer yellow ring (18 points) and one in the blue (6 points).
All-in, I scored 24 points. That was enough to qualify for the second-round. Lau managed to put one - dead center and earned 10 points. But, that was not enough to carry him forward to the second-round.

Lau and I during practice round

The excellent lunch break
Official results - elimination..

We moved to the main area where lunch was served. 
The organizers provided meals for the competitors and one of the main highlights was roast lamb.
I must say that the simple food was excellent and there was enough time for us to mingle with the rest of the archers.
It turned out that despite the "warrior" looks and mentality, those guys are really friendly.
During lunch, I spoke to Wan Rohafizan, a fellow traditional recurve archer. He was shooting a Hoyt Buffalo with Quattro carbon-fibre limbs. The bow poundage was reduced to 32lbs and this guy shoots very well.
When you carry a 64" takedown recurve, you tend to stick out like a sore thumb. It also attracts attention from archers who have never seen a hunting bow. 
I must say that I have little expectation at this event and all that was in my mind -- was to learn and have fun.
After the meals, we moved back into the main tent. 
An announcement was made and the entry number of the archers were called up. In a chart, there was knock-out round to determine who goes to round 3 and the finals.

Wan Rohafizan in action, he finished first in the Men's traditional archery category

Squaring-off with a fellow archer from Kelantan during the quarter-finals
A photo-ops at the tournament
The quarter-finals

But mid-day, the best archers in the house were called-in to square-off. 
Each man was given 2 minutes to hit a target paper, 45 yards away and as a bonus, a 3D bunny was place. 
This will earn the archer another 15 points if he managed to put two arrows on it.
At such a distance, things got really technical.
There's elevation and windage and to be frank, I have never shot beyond 30 yards.
It's all up to pure skills and a little bit of luck to land the arrow on the paper.
Everyone was nervous and when my turn was up, I tried to put all my 9 arrows onto the target bud.
From a distance (ranged at 45 yards by a dude with a range-finder), my arrows seemed to land low on the target bud.
None of it had hit the inner or outer ring.
My opponent, a young man from Kelantan on lane 10, did very well. 
After collecting the arrows (I didn't lose any), I walked to my opponent and shook his hands. He's a better archer.
To me, this became a valuable experience and motivation to shoot 30 yards for a better grouping.
Lau, his son Joshua and I left Tanjung Keling and headed straight to Subang Jaya after I had dropped out from the tournament.
He is determined to train for round 3 of the Monster Chill tournament which will be held in Kuala Lumpur..
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