No surprise in store from Khairul after world championship podium

Khairul Anuar Mohamad shoots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

If his performance to qualify is any indication, Khairul Anuar Mohamad could cause trouble for the favourites at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The three-time Olympian secured a quota spot for Malaysia by winning silver in the recurve men’s event at the 2019 Hyundai World Archery Championships in ’s-Hertogenbosch.

His opponent in the gold medal match, world number one Brady Ellison, needed a perfect arrow in a tiebreak to beat him and collect the world champion title. 

Khairul, meanwhile, shot like he had nothing to lose, shooting the 10 he needed, repeatedly, at the end of sets to prolong the match and refusing to given to his heavily favoured opponent.

The world number 15 played the familiar role of underdog then, and the mild-mannered 29-year-old would have probably liked to assume a similar designation here in Tokyo. 

But Khairul’s opponents would be unwise to underestimate him. His silver in ’s-Hertogenbosch was the first Malaysian medal in the history of the Hyundai World Archery Championships – but it was a long time coming, Khairul having been ranked among the world’s best since late 2011.

He finished sixth at the London 2012 Olympic Games, then lost in the second round at Rio 2016.

The key to performing well in Tokyo, he said, is ignoring the past.

“To shoot my best, I need focus on my shooting – not the competition,” Khairul said. “I hope I can do my best.”

Competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games starts with qualifying on 23 July 2021.