Asean Para Games 2017

Asean Para Games: Serene Syahidah retains crown

Singapore's Nur Syahidah Alim, 32, defeated Malaysia's Nor Sa'adah Abdul Wahab 140-132 at the KL Sports City, while Thailand's R. Katemongkon took bronze. Securing the Spex Scholarship in April allowed her to train full time.
Singapore's Nur Syahidah Alim, 32, defeated Malaysia's Nor Sa'adah Abdul Wahab 140-132 at the KL Sports City, while Thailand's R. Katemongkon took bronze. Securing the Spex Scholarship in April allowed her to train full time.PHOTO: SPORT SINGAPORE

She blocks out raucous home crowd to win compound gold, eyes mixed team gold next

Nur Syahidah Alim is an artist with a bow but also with a brush.

Singapore's top para-archer is an amateur painter and one of the themes she enjoys painting is nature. Among her pieces is a sampan floating on a calm lake, depicting the tranquillity of water, and she brought a similar serenity to her performance at the Asean Para Games yesterday.

The 32-year-old defended her 2015 title successfully, defeating Malaysia's Nor Sa'adah Abdul Wahab 140-132 in the women's individual compound final at the KL Sports City.

Thailand's R. Katemongkon took bronze.

"I'm feeling great," Syahidah said. "It was quite exciting, the crowd was very loud cheering for the Malaysian team.

"When I was at the gold medal match, it was more of doing my best out there and just whack.

"Me versus myself, the conditions and the target."

TOTAL FOCUS

When I was at the gold medal match, it was more of doing my best out there and just whack. Me versus myself, the conditions and the target.

NUR SYAHIDAH ALIM, on not worrying about her opponents.

The Spex Scholarship recipient - who won Singapore's first individual and team archery gold on home soil at the last Games - was set to become the Republic's first para-athlete to feature at last month's SEA Games and had been competing in able-bodied events since joining the SEA Games training squad earlier this year.

However, Syahidah, who has cerebral palsy, had her proposal - to shoot while seated on a stool with another person collecting her arrows - rejected by the SEA Games organisers.

"It's a disappointing outcome in the SEA Games, but I was really glad that I went through the experience, and it goes to show that the preparation can be applied to the Asean Para Games," she said.

Training was increased from 20 hours a week to 30 after the senior executive at Sport Singapore received the Spex Scholarship in April, which allowed her to train full time.

Syahidah's hard work has paid off for she broke her personal best in a single qualifying round at this edition of the APG. Her score of 345 points was 21 points better than 2015 and it left national coach Rachel Sng delighted.

Sng said: "Her scores during training are much higher. We used to go up and down, now she can hit a certain end score, and then another two or three points more.

"I can comfortably judge her arrow landings and adjust her sights to get her a higher score."

Syahidah faces another challenge today: Defending her mixed team compound crown alongside compatriot Robert Fuchs.

She said: "There's a little bit of pressure to try to defend the title. We've practised and trained very hard for (today's) event, and we'll do our best for (today)."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2017, with the headline 'Serene Syahidah retains crown'. Print Edition | Subscribe