Para sports: Syahidah on 'right track'

Nur Syahidah Alim is eyeing another gold at the Asean Para Games in January.
Nur Syahidah Alim is eyeing another gold at the Asean Para Games in January.

Her gold at Asian Para Archery C'ships is vindication of progress ahead of Paralympics

Singapore's world No. 1 para-archer Nur Syahidah Alim continues to prove why she is the best in the business when she won gold at the Asian Para Archery Championships in Bangkok on Friday.

Going into the women's compound open knockout rounds as the fifth qualifier, the 34-year-old received a bye into the second round where she demonstrated her sharpness.

After eliminating a pair of South Koreans - 12th seed Jeong Jin-young 140-137 and fourth seed Kim Mi-soon 136-133 - she stepped up a gear to beat Chinese duo, top seed Lin Yueshan 145-142 in the semi-final and third seed Zhou Jiamin 145-140 in the final, to nail the gold.

"What helped me in this competition was focusing on the game plan and learning to enjoy the journey," said Syahidah, who was born with cerebral palsy.

And what a journey it has been. In June, she pipped reigning Paralympic champion Jessica Stretton for her first world title and secured Singapore a berth at next year's Paralympics.

Then, at the beginning of this month, Syahidah reached the summit of the women's compound open individual world rankings.

"I feel very proud and blessed to be able to achieve so much this year. It is a great honour to be able to continue to represent Singapore through extraordinary feats," said Syahidah, who picked up the sport when she was 18 after visiting a disability expo, and became a competitive athlete in 2015.

"My training programme from coach (Pang) Qing Liang, as well as the support from my team at Singapore Sport Institute, have been very effective.

"The achievements this year are an affirmation that what we are doing in training is on the right track."

While her ultimate goal is to be at the top of the Paralympics podium in Tokyo - she became the first archer to represent Singapore at the Paralympics and reached the quarter-finals at Rio 2016 - Syahidah's next major assignment is the Asean Para Games (APG) in the Philippines from Jan 18-25.

She said: "A break will need to wait as I will be preparing for the APG in January. My target is to win another gold for Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 27, 2019, with the headline 'Syahidah on 'right track''. Print Edition | Subscribe