2015 ASEAN PARA GAMES: DAY 5

Asean Para Games: Spot on with two golds

Singapore's Syahidah Alim poses at the victory parade after winning gold at both the the Archery Individual Compound Open (Women) and Mixed Team Compound events.
Singapore's Syahidah Alim poses at the victory parade after winning gold at both the the Archery Individual Compound Open (Women) and Mixed Team Compound events. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Singapore's Syahidah Alim wins gold at the Archery Individual compound open women's event.
Singapore's Syahidah Alim wins gold at the Archery Individual compound open women's event. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Singapore's Syahidah Alim (centre) and her teammate, Robert Fuchs (right) celebrate with the Singapore team after winning gold at the Archery Mixed Team Compound event.
Singapore's Syahidah Alim (centre) and her teammate, Robert Fuchs (right) celebrate with the Singapore team after winning gold at the Archery Mixed Team Compound event. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Singapore's Syahidah Alim (right) celebrates with her teammate, Robert Fuchs (left) after winning gold at the Archery Mixed Team Compound event.
Singapore's Syahidah Alim (right) celebrates with her teammate, Robert Fuchs (left) after winning gold at the Archery Mixed Team Compound event. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Syahidah Alim (sitting) celebrating her second archery gold medal yesterday. She won the women's individual compound event and partnered Robert Fuchs (left) to capture the mixed team title as well.
Syahidah Alim (sitting) celebrating her second archery gold medal yesterday. She won the women's individual compound event and partnered Robert Fuchs (left) to capture the mixed team title as well. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Syahidah Alim (sitting) celebrating her second archery gold medal yesterday. She won the women's individual compound event and partnered Robert Fuchs (left) to capture the mixed team title as well.
Syahidah Alim, two-gold archer, on the support from her parents.

No sign of nerves for dual winner Syahidah and S'pore's archery team making APG debut

Before she took up archery, Syahidah Alim was an artist. Oil paintings of landscapes were her forte and she was attracted to the creative process behind the craft.

The harmonious movement of archery, from nocking the arrow to drawing the string to seeing the arrow pierce the bull's eye, holds a similar fascination for her.

"It's the entire process that I enjoy. It brings me a lot of satisfaction," she said.

It has also delivered two historic Asean Para Games (APG) gold medals for the 30-year-old, who captured the women's individual compound event before adding the mixed team title yesterday.

PILLAR OF SUPPORT

I could see them from where I was competing and even though I was trying to focus, it was nice to know they were out there cheering me on. It's a very special day for me.

SYAHIDAH ALIM, two-gold archer, on the support from her parents

This is the first time that Singapore have fielded an archery team at the APG but Syahidah, who was born with cerebral palsy, showed little sign of nerves during her maiden appearance in a major final.

She had finished as the top qualifier of four competitors on Saturday and carried that form into yesterday's semi-final, landing 11 of her 15 shots on the 10 ring as she trounced the Thai Rhomshalee Katemongkon 146-125.

The final against 2014 APG recurve champion Nor Saadah of Malaysia was a closer affair but Syahidah's consistency gave her the 139-133 victory and a place in the Republic's record books.

Said Syahidah, who sits on a chair to shoot as standing for the duration of a competition is too exacting on her legs: "I was a bit nervous initially but after I hit 30 (three straight bull's eye) to start the final, I calmed down and it became a really fun experience."

The celebrations in the Singapore camp behind her soon multiplied as one gold became two as Syahidah and team-mate Robert Fuchs defeated the Malaysian duo of Nor and Azrul Rashid 147-144 in the mixed team compound final.

Both Syahidah and Fuchs had trained together for only a year and despite the odd couple pairing - she is reserved while he is gregarious - the chemistry between them was evident as they shared a warm embrace after the last arrow left Syahidah's bow.

Said 40-year-old Romanian-born Fuchs who lost his left leg in a traffic accident last year: "We get along really well.

"She's very calm and I'm very hyper and somehow that works."

It also helps that Fuchs is a quick shooter while Syahidah requires more time in between each shot.

They had 80 seconds to complete each of the four ends for the final. This meant that Fuchs would shoot first and last to give his partner as much time as possible to fire her two shots.

Added Fuchs who took up the sport in November last year: "It's amazing how far we've come in such a short time."

Yet for the elderly couple in the stands, it was no surprise to see their oldest daughter - who as a child had struggled to walk but kept going for physiotherapy and who now goes everywhere with an unusual gait but on her own two feet - raise her right hand in triumph.

She was always full of determination in whatever she set out to do for herself, said her father Alim Kasim, 67, with a proud smile.

Added Syahidah: "My parents have always been my pillar of support. I could see them from where I was competing and even though I was trying to focus, it was nice to know they were out there cheering me on.

"It's a very special day for me."

There was also a picturesque sunset - perhaps like one of those landscape paintings she used to sketch - beyond the Kallang Cricket Field as Syahidah walked onto the stage to collect her medals.

"Oh, I didn't even notice that," she said with a laugh afterwards.

One could forgive her.

After all, she had already painted her masterpiece on the canvas of target boards behind her.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2015, with the headline 'SPOT ON WITH TWO GOLDS'. Print Edition | Subscribe