Tokyo2020: Khairul Anuar Storms Into Round Of 16 While Pandelela-Mun Yee Finish 8th & More

Malaysia was made to wait for its first medal at the Olympics, but a few stalwarts put in strong performances.

Cover image via AFP/Berita Harian & AFP/New Straits Times

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After losing out at Rio 2016 in the second stage, archer Khairul Anuar Mohamed did one better this time around by slaying Finland and China.

In a nervy showdown at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field earlier today, 28 July, the 29-year-old won two consecutive one-arrow shoot-outs in the knockout rounds, hitting perfect 10s each time.

In the first round, Khairul Anuar faced Finland's Antti Vikstrom and had trailed the Finn 3-5 in their penultimate game.

However, a lucky break occurred when Antti's bow broke slightly mid-shot, unnerving him and allowing the Malaysian to tie the game at 5-5.

In the tie-breaker, the Finnish archer hit a '9', meaning only a bulls-eye would see Khairul advance, which he cooly dispatched.

For context, archers shoot three arrows consecutively each game, tallying points from their final position relative to the centre. If an archer obtains more points than their opponent, they earn 2 points from that game. Tie, and each archer gets a single point.

Image via Reuters/Malay Mail

Khairul Anuar faced off against China in the following round, where he raced into a 5-3 lead. His opponent, Wang Dapeng, tied the scores, initiating yet another one-arrow shoot-out.

Wang hit a '9', putting immense pressure on the 2019 World Championships silver medalist. However, a held breath was all it took, and he shot another perfect '10'.

"Alhamdulillah, I won both my matches today...however, I did not perform that well because my focus was off and I was a little distracted. For my third round match, I need to be more focused," the archer said humbly after his match, reported Bernama.

The world number 15 archer now advances to the Round of 16, set to take place on 31 July.

The only other Malaysian archer at the Olympics, 20-year-old Syaqiera Mashayikh.

Image via

This stunning performance comes after Malaysia had missed out on qualification in the mixed-doubles archery event, with the pairing of Khairul Anuar and 20-year-old Syaqiera Mashayikh placing 19th last Saturday, 24 July.

Only the top 16 teams qualify to the next round in the doubles events.

Syaqiera had yesterday, 27 July, fallen in the first round of her individual matchup to French world number four Elena Ospiva. She lost 4-6 in what was a respectable showing for the Olympics debutante.

She had qualified in 43rd place, posting a personal best record in what is only her third international outing.

Meanwhile, Malaysia was made to wait for its first Olympic medals at Tokyo 2020, as synchronised diving finalists Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee failed to make it on the podium

The veteran duo have been competing at an elite level together since 2009 when Pandelela was only 16, but had different partners at the previous Olympics.

Image via Reuters/Malay Mail

Pandelela-Mun Yee were well within medal contention after the first two dives in the final round of the women's synchronised 10m platform yesterday, 27 July, standing at 2nd and 3rd place after the Reverse and Back Dive portions respectively.

However, their performance took a nosedive, with the duo tallying a measly 277.98 points after all five dives were completed, placing last out of eight teams.

For comparison, champion pairing Chen Yuxi and Zhang Jiaqi of China posted a score of 363.78, and second place went to the American duo who scored 310.80.

It was at this point, after the final scores were released, that the viral incident of Pandelela mouthing the words 'b-bi' occured.

A screenshot of the viral clip.

Image via @syqhramli (Twitter)

Medal expectations were high after the duo took home silver at the 2019 Diving World Championships, but ultimately "individual mistakes" were pinned as the reasons for their poor showing, reports Free Malaysia Today.

"We have done our very best, perhaps luck deserted us this time for a medal. We have no regrets," said Pandelela.

The 28-year old Sarawakian will now turn her attention to the individual women's 10m platform, which gets underway on 4 August.

As for Leong Mun Yee, she alludes that retirement is on the horizon. The five-time Olympian, now 36, is not participating in any individual events.

ICYMI, here are other noteworthy anecdotes in-and-around the Malaysian contingent at the time of writing:

  • Badminton Mens Double's pair Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik advance to the quarter-finals after beating Canada in a must-win last group game 21-15, 21-13. They will now face the world number 1 pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia tomorrow at 9:35am Malaysian time.
  • Badminton Womens Singles underdog Soniia Cheah Su Ya lost her second group game to Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand. She had received a bye in the first game against Hungary's Laura Sárosi, and has since exited the Olympics.
  • Sailing has seen many races postponed due to bad weather, and as such none of the Malaysian athletes have completed the qualifying races in earnest. We will be keeping a close eye on developments and update accordingly.

Read our previous Tokyo2020 news roundup here:

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