Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 - The year in perspective...

Oh, what a year!

Only two days left before we cross into 2018 and I must say that the last 12 months have been really interesting...
Nearly every quarter, we stayed in the game in terms of our archery pursuit and the range time that I had with my bow and arrow bore the fruits of my labour.

Archery, archery, archery...

I'd say that throughout the year, I have been spending much time in the range with my trad bows. 
In the earlier quarter, I competed in the Kelantan Indoor Open with my Hoyt Tiburon. It's a trad bow and I love how it performed. Later in March, I acquired the Hoyt Satori and the game was about to change. For three months solid, I trained with the new Hoyt Traditional bow and I must say that the results were amazing. I improved my scores at the Thailand Princess Cup barebow competition. Managed to compete in the 1/16 elimination rounds. After coming back from Thailand, I transited to shooting with a barebow riser. 

Sharing a light moment with a fellow Thai archer at the Princess Cup

With Tatrawee Harikul, the main man behind the Princess Cup tournament

The Spigarelli, an awesome riser at the right price

Sending an arrow downrange with the Spiga
There was enough time to train and break-in the bow for the UPM indoor open back in October. The Spiga needs plenty of work to get it competition ready and once its teething problems are taken care of, it performs. 
The UPM event is another notch on our local tournament rankings as Michelle and I did pretty okay. We made to the 1/8 elimination rounds and also improved our scores.

At the indoor archery world cup in Bangkok
The icing on the cake is, of course, December's Indoor Archery World Cup. It was held in Bangkok and we had a swell time shooting with some of the best archers from Asia. Once again, we met our counterparts from Thailand and stood at the shooting line with them. Other highlights including organizing our club's Invitational event and two smaller shoots for our club members.

The Malaysia Day tournament

The 2017 Invitational
 We lost our boy...

Sir Naughty 2004 - 2017
Our dog of 13 years passed away on Dec 22. It was a great loss to us because he was such an awesome companion. Sir Naughty kept our home safe and our hearts warm. Its always been great coming home to a furkid wagging his tail and he did that all through the years and right until the end.


After 10 years in the Star Media Group, it's time to move on...

My workplace announced that they had to cull 500 people to save 800 jobs. I knew it was time to hit the road and I was happy to do so after being offered a redundancy package. To me, after weighing the pros and cons, it was the right thing to do. My time was over and there's nothing wrong in stepping aside to allow others to progress. From reporter to producer, I have come a long way after nearly three decades on the job. I don't feel at a loss or remorseful stepping out. The real challenge is out there and 2018 has a couple of gigs to offer. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Sir Clifford McNaughty 2004 - 2017

A day in living memory...

IT was a dreadful moment when I had to make the call to euthanize my 13-year-old male Siberian Husky.
We had Sir Naughty in our home since 2004 and I will never forget that fateful day when I picked him up as a pup from my mom in-law's home in Petaling Jaya.
Naughty lived with us for a year before we welcomed another Siberian Husky Dame Queenie. Both as been partners for as long as I can recall. 

Sir Naughty and his faithful partner Dame Queenie
My boy's health has deteriorated through the years and lately, he lost a lot of weight. We introduced two more dogs to the house and that's where things went South for our old boy. Two weeks ago, he was injured in the face after fighting with Bandit, our new dog. Naughty went into a recluse and develope maggot wound infection. 
His condition worsened and it came to a point where he couldn't walk anymore. It was a devastating sight to see a healthy dog deteriorate right before your eyes...

The mischievous pup

Sir Naughty, as I would remember him the best
Towards the end of his lifespan, Naughty was in constant pain. He peed and pooped all over himself. I knew I had to make a decision to ease his suffering with a trip to the vet today.
I put him on the inspection table, the veterinarian gave her prognosis. I told her that I don't want him to suffer anymore.
While giving him a pat on the head, I said: "Thank you boy, for all the great years, you don't have to suffer anymore. Goodbye boy..."
I can sense that he was calm before going to sleep. I have even prepared to bury him at my neighbor's orchard. I asked Mr. Huang if I could lay him to rest near his fruit trees. The man agreed. 
I signed a consent form for the euthanization and picked up his body from the consultation room. We headed back to one last ride home. I placed his body respectfully into his grave, buried him and said a prayer.
Sir Naughty is one-of-a-kind. I don't think I could find another pooch that has his feistiness, on top of being a loving and faithful companion. After his passing, all I have with me are the good memories. Travel well my beloved pooch, and thank you for being such a loyal companion. Love you always...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2017 Indoor Barebow Championship - Part 3

The main event...

We got up at 4:45am and prepared ourselves for the journey to the convention centre. The plan was to pack our lunch.
I brought a cooler bag and three food containers for our lunch at the event venue. We have been warned about the lack of food outlets in the area, so we came prepared.
At 6:00am, we were still waiting at the lobby for the cafe to be opened. The Thais are very direct about this.
And to top it all up, we have to queue up with a bus load of Chinese tourists to get our meals. The day before, I told the hotel people that we are packing our breakfast. They agreed. What I found annoying was the fact that the tourists were rushing to get their meals. This is an issue around the globe concerning holiday makers from Mainland China.

Michelle didn't looked pleased about the meal-packing prospect...

On our way to the convention hall...
Once we had the foodstuff all settled, we hailed a cab that took us to Srinagarinda Road where the convention hall is located. We didn't really got caught in the Bangkok traffic and was early enough to reach the hall.
There, we met our Thai friends who also left their home early in order to beat the peak hour traffic.

With Apisit "Joeyboy" Opasiamlikit at the hall

The chief judge breifiing the participants

Samo and his lane mates Yuttana and Watchara
Michelle and I had set up our bows, we waited for further instructions before the qualifiers. At the shooting line, we were allowed two ends of practice before scoring.
I must say that I was very impressed with the "live" scores input with a smartphone. On each dedicated shooting lane, a scorepad was placed together with a smartphone. One guy keyed-in the scores that goes live on the internet while the other scribbles down the paper score sheet. The guys at home would get a live-feed on what went down at the tournament.
As soon as the buzzer was hit, we went to the waiting line, then the moment came when we have two minutes to empty our quivers.
For the qualifying rounds, we had to send 60 arrows downrange. Our total scores will be tabulated at the end to determine the best 16 archers for the elimination rounds.

A worthwhile experience...

During the first round, I engaged and connected with my first end. Down to the third end, I started to faulter. Sending an arrow to the blue, black and white. This was costly and it really hurt my overall score on the first round. From end number four onwards, I rebounded with my best shot at end number eight with two bullseye and an inner red, bringing the score to 28 points. The total score on round 1 was 206 points.

Getting ready to engage and connect
The second round is a "make or break" round. At this point, its all about mental strength and endurance. 
Yuttana, my lane mate scored 244/300 during the first round. He is one of the top barebow archers in Thailand alongside Watchara and Col Supin Smitskerin who won the Thailand Princess Cup in June.
I had a good start in the second round until the fifth end. My form collapsed and I managed to collect only 11 out of 30 points. From there, I slowly recovered and ended up the game with 201/300. 
This mirrors my training scores at the range and also topped what I scored at the Princess Cup qualifiers.
At the end of round 2, I scored 406/600 and was ranked 32 out of 46 archers in the game. 
The lead archers in my lane Watchara scored 515/600, ranked 4th and Yuttana came in at 7th with 504/600.
Michelle did very well in the tournament with 440/600, ranked 21. Out of six Malaysians who took part in the barebow open, three went to the elimination rounds.

Manual scoring

The best archers in Thailand versus the Chinese 

Scoring time

Michelle's group at the target bud
Michelle did very well at the tournament
Last man standing...

As soon as the game was over, the results came out. We saw our rankings and was glad that we didn't do badly. I pretty much improved my scores and Michelle is now one of the best archers in our team.
While waiting for the elimination rounds, we found a place at the back of the hall to have our packed lunch.
It gave me a moment to reflect on what to do when I get back and how to improve my form and consistency.

After the game

With a fellow barebow archer from Greece
Three Malaysians, Suhari Ariffin, Rifai Badawi and Fadzli Samsor have made it to the knockout rounds.
Suhari went down to the top guy in the tournament while Rifai was taken out by his fellow countryman Fadzli.
From how they squared-off, it was obvious that Fadzli allowed the game to advance to a shoot-off.
Fadzli was the better archer and made it all the way to the finals and squared-off with Liang Chao Jun from China. Liang was ranked 11th while Fadzli was ranked 8th in the qualifiers. This was an exciting game to watch as a few upsets was created during the Olympic rounds.

Fadzli squaring off with Liang at the finals

Liang (left) took gold, with Fadzli earning a silver medal while Zhoe Che took bronze
The finals was a game of the underdogs. With the favourites culled, it was an exciting finals. Both Liang and Fadzli fought toe-to-toe until they tied 5-5. A shoot-off decided who will return home with the gold medal. And Liang proved that he was a better archer. Fadzli had to contend with silver while Zhou Che, who was very strong right from the beginning, ended up at the third place.
For a first-timer, Fadzli did Malaysia proud. This is the man to watch in the local barebow scene as well as regional events. His dream is to make it to the Lancaster Archery Classics in Pennsylvania.


The pricey Indoor Barebow Championship is a worthwhile experience if you want to dabble into professional barebow tournaments. It's perhaps one of the best organized events of such nature in Southeast Asia.
To get to the shooting line and do well, you have to be good at what you do, minimalize your mistakes and stay focussed. 
For me, it was an eye-opener. I made many new friends and connected with familiar faces from the Land of Smiles. At the end of the game, the Thai archers were already asking us if we are going for the Thailand Princess Cup 2018. Without hesitation, our answer was "Yes".

Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017 Indoor Barebow Championship - Part 2

Official practice day...

It's a Sunday and we pretty much took it easy.
Michelle and I had chilled out in the morning. We took a walk to a market nearby to savor the local scene.
And I must say that the area around Lat Phrao Road is pretty clean!
After a good walk around, we headed back to the hotel and packed up our shooting gear. 

Filling up our tummy before heading to the tournament venue

Fried rice

Tomyam goong

Before we head off to the U-convention hall, we had lunch at a food court near our hotel. The fare was very decent and it was very cheap by our standards. Good food in our belly, a chance to sight our designated target face, we took a cab ride to the convention hall which is located about 4.6km away.

With Yuttana Lertruangsilpa, my lane mate

At the end of a main-event before equipment inspection

Checking out the stalls at the convention hall
An international affair and familiar faces...

The hall was abuzz with people and when we arrived, a couple of gold medal matches were going on. 
Noteworthy, was the match between "Mr Perfect" Mike Schloesser from the Netherlands and Kristoffer Schaff from the USA at the Men's Compound finals. 

Scaff (left) and Schloesser (right) at the prize-giving ceremony
We walked to the back of the hall and saw some familiar faces. One of them were Yuttana Lertruangsilpa, a seasoned archer whom I squared off with at the Thailand Princess Cup in June. 
Yuttana is a good archer and he's also my lane mate. And with the Thai crowd, I met Watchara Kohkeaw, another seasoned archer from the AF Archery Club. I followed Watchara's progress on the social media and I must say it was really fun shooting with this guy.

 A real gentleman archer: Watchara at the official practice session...

With Yuttana from Teerabow archery club at the hall

The Thai archers were very warm and friendly with us. Since we have met at the Princess Cup tournament, they kinda had a good impression of Michelle and me. We had our gear set up, waited for the equipment inspection to take place. Unlike the kampung meet that we regularly attend, the Indoor Barebow Championship is a serious tournament. They specify what kind of equipment you can use and I must say that I am pretty impressed with the way things were organized.

Thai celebrity Apisit "Joeyboy" Opasiamlikit getting his gear checked

The judge running a ring through an archer's bow
And when we were called up to the inspection line, we had our bows checked and the judge ran a ring through the riser and limbs.
Michelle and I had ours inspected and was passed to shoot at the event.
There, we also met Thai celebrity Apisit "Joeyboy" Opasiamlikit. Seems that he takes part in
 the IBC almost annually.
He's the only Thai archer who shot with a traditional takedown recurve bow.

At the equipment line

Setting up for the barebow official practice session
There were 51 names and archers from seven countries taking part in the event. Unlike the Thailand Princess Cup, the IBC is a short game. Only 16 archers will square off for the medal matches.

Archers from the first group at the official practice session
The official practice was a full-session. We shot 30 arrows in 10 ends to allow us to familiarise with the conditions in the hall.
I had Yuttana as my lane mate while Watchara shot at target face "A" with Duan Yuhang from China shooting target face "B". Yuttana and I was in the second group with targets "C" and "D" respectively.
Since I am not really used to shooting my Spigarelli Revolution 25 Barebow riser, I kinda struggled with the inconsistency in placing my shots.
Having the go at plinking 6 arrows in 2-minutes, I sighted-in the bow. And I must say that I was happy that most of the arrows landed in the blue and inner rings. A couple went stray and hit the white and black. 
When it was all over, I was satisfied with the opportunity to carry out the sighters.
Sadly, my fellow Malaysians who took part in the event did not arrive in time to shoot all 10 ends. 
After a good start, we headed back to our hotel to get a good meal.

First time having Mookata in Bangkok

Happy campers!

Nothing like a chilled one! 
Mookata (Thai BBQ) was our choice dinner treat and we found one such place near our hotel. 
We dug-in, had a good fill and called it a day... The following day will be a hectic one as we head off early to the all for the qualification rounds...

Monday, December 11, 2017

2107 Indoor Barebow Championship - Part 1

The mother of all Barebow tournaments in Southeast Asia...

Shortly after the 2017 UPM indoor open archery tournament, Michelle and I have been mulling the idea of heading up to Bangkok to compete at the Indoor Barebow Championship. It's actually a side-event organized concurrently with stage 2 of the 2017  Indoor Archery World Cup.
We gave it much thought and decided that it was an event not to be missed. The fees in Singapore Dollars is considered as very expensive. We paid SG$200 per entry and at SG$400 (RM1,205), shooting at such an event is simply no child's play.
Prior to this, I have been told by an experienced archer from Singapore that the minimum score per round to qualify for the elimination rounds was at 240/300. So, having heard that, I didn't raise any expectations.

Working with new equipment

The saying goes: 'Never bring a knife to a gunfight' and such is the principle if you want to compete in a technical tournament. 
We have the very experienced Thai archers and a team of Chinese archers from Chengdu competing this year.
The Singaporeans who took part were no threat as they were very new to the sport. I transited from traditional archery to barebow by procuring a Spigarelli Revolution 25 Barebow riser. 
Took me about three months to get familiar with the new gear and truth to be told, the barebow riser is not as forgiving as my Hoyt Satori traditional hunting bow. And in such a technical tournament, the archer who has an Olympic recurve bow shooting background would have a great advantage.

Samo's Spigarelli Revo 25 Barebow Riser
Having a go with the Spiga Revo 25 at a range in Bangkok...
During training, my average score per round was at 200-220. There were bad days when I shot at 150/300. To shoot well with a barebow where an arrow rest and a bergen button is allowed, you have to master your shooting form. If you have bad form, the arrows will fly everywhere.
Since I shoot with a split-finger style, my aiming method is rather unique. On a good day, the arrow will land on where I look, usually on the yellow ring in a 40-cm, 10-ring target face. And at a distance of 18-meters, it's a daily challenge to be consistent. 
All that said and done, we planned our trip in such a way that we have a day's head-start before accreditation and the event's official practice...

The logistics

I picked a hotel in Bang Kapi, which is rather near to the Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok. The distance from the hotel to U-convention center is roughly about 4.6km. This means we don't have to rush at all during the qualifying rounds.
All we need to do is to pack our lunch from the hotel.
Michelle had booked the flight to Bangkok on a weekend which is Saturday. Official practice and athlete's accreditation is on Sunday.
This means we have a full day in Bangkok where we can shoot at a local archery range. The place in mind was Archery Thai near the outskirts of the city.
I have scoped the hotel in Bang Kapi, we picked a tourist hotel at Lat Phrao Road near the Ramkamheng University.
This is an interesting place with a choice of really good local food. Our primary aim is to experience the Indoor Barebow Championship, the secondary task was a honeymoon to celebrate 13 years of marriage...