Syahidah strikes gold in world championships bow

Nur Syahidah Alim singing the national anthem after receiving the gold medal in this video screengrab. The 33-year-old beat Paralympic champion Jessica Stretton of Britain in a shoot-off for the compound gold at the World Archery Para Championships i
Nur Syahidah Alim singing the national anthem after receiving the gold medal in this video screengrab. The 33-year-old beat Paralympic champion Jessica Stretton of Britain in a shoot-off for the compound gold at the World Archery Para Championships in Den Bosch yesterday.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ WORLD ARCHERY

In her maiden World Archery Para Championships outing in the Netherlands, Nur Syahidah Alim was up against 2016 Paralympic champion Jessica Stretton, who had forced their gold-medal match yesterday into a shoot-off with her very last shot.

But Syahidah told herself to "breathe in confidence, breathe out anxiety" before each shot, and held her nerve to edge out the 19-year-old Briton in the women's individual compound final, clinching her first world title and Singapore's first medal at the event.

Both women shot nines in the shoot-off, but the gold was awarded to the 33-year-old Syahidah as her arrow landed closer to the bull's eye.

Tatiana Andrievskaia of Russia took bronze.

A relieved Syahidah told The Sunday Times after receiving her medal: "I'm relieved that it's over. It really was an exciting match.

"What was running through my mind was (the reminder) to focus on my process and to be patient with my shots. That really helped."

The score was close from the beginning of the final, which was held in the Dutch city of Den Bosch.

  • 9

    What both Nur Syahidah Alim and Jessica Stretton shot in the shoot-off. But the Singaporean triumphed because her arrow was closer to the bull's eye.

Syahidah had been ahead by a point until she got a nine in her last shot of the fourth end, which allowed Stretton to level the score at 141-141 heading into the final end.

But the Singaporean, who grimaced after that shot, said she did not panic.

"Archery is anybody's game, so the only thing I can do is do my best out there and just focus on what I need to do, which is my routine and (remembering) my cue words," she added.

A world title is not the only thing Syahidah will depart the Netherlands with - she has also secured Singapore a place at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year.

ST understands she will be nominated to the Singapore National Paralympic Council for the para-archery slot in the Japanese capital.

Singapore will also be represented in cycling at the Tokyo Games.

The Republic earned a Paralympic slot in the sport for the first time after its cyclists were ranked fifth in Asia at the end of the 2018 season. The top six nations in Asia are awarded places.

Syahidah, who reached the quarter-finals at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, is aiming to go further next year.

"I didn't expect to go all the way to the gold-medal match at the world championships. My aim was to qualify for Tokyo and I've done that," she said, adding that she intends to further hone her mental toughness and technique once she returns home.

"The next thing after this is to get back to Singapore and start preparing for the Paralympics... I'm aiming for a podium finish."

Correction note: This article has been edited for accuracy.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 09, 2019, with the headline 'Syahidah strikes gold in world championships bow'. Print Edition | Subscribe