KHAIRUL Anuar Mohamed is looking like the country's best bet to spring a surprise at the London Olympics after scoring a first for Malaysia by finishing top of the men's recurve World Cup qualifying round in Ogden, Utah on Tuesday.
But there was disappointment for the national women's recurve archers, whose bid to qualify for the Olympic team event ended tamely after failing to make the top-16 elimination round when they finished the qualifying stage 23rd out of 27 countries.
So it was over to World No 5 Khairul to bring some cheer to the Malaysian camp and he duly obliged by edging Bato Tsynguev to top spot on the basis of hitting the bulls-eye 13 times to the Russian's 11 after both scored 668 points.
It was the first time a Malaysian had taken the top seeding in a World Cup event and Khairul's reward is a bye to the third round.
Khairul, who reached the fourth round of the World Cup meets in Shanghai and Antalya earlier this year, teamed up with fellow Olympic teammates Cheng Chu Sian and Haziq Kamaruddin to steer Malaysia to second spot in the team qualifying standings on 1,950 points, just seven behind the United States.
Malaysia will meet Turkey in the first round today with the winners facing either India or the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.
Aside from Khairul, Haziq also did well to finish the individual qualifying in 11th place on 656 points but Chu Sian, back in the world's top-10 at No 10 for the first time since 2009 after reaching the Shanghai semi-finals, slumped to 76th on 626.
In the first round scheduled for late yesterday, Haziq was to face Iran's Hamed Fouri while Chu Sian was to meet Luca Melotto of Italy.
Nurul Syafiqah Hashim, Malaysia's only woman archer to qualify for London, and Shahira Abdul Halim were the only national archers to qualify for the women's recurve individual elimination round after finishing a lowly 95th and 96th respectively. By Devinder Singh