Tuesday September 4, 2012
Hasihin shoots down a surprise silver in Paralympics archery
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Seven years ago, building contractor Hasihin Sanawi fell off a roof and broke his back but the accident did not break his spirit.
His indomitable will to do well in life despite being paralysed from the hip down, paid dividends at the London Paralympic Games yesterday.
The 29-year-old’s hard work and perseverance helped him land Malaysia’s first silver medal of the Games in the men’s individual recurve W1/W2 (wheelchair) event at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
And the icing on the cake is a RM200,000 reward under the National Sports Council’s incentive scheme.
Hasihin came within a whisker of winning the nation’s first gold medal in the Games. In the nerve-wracking final, the Malaysian and Italian Oscar de Pellegrin were all square at 5-5 and it came down to a one arrow shootout. The Italian shot a nine while Hasihin only managed an eight to end up with the silver.
Earlier, in the semi-finals, the 19th seeded Hasihin defied the odds to edge out second seed Ebrahim Ranjbarkivaj of Iran 6-5.
“I’m so emotional right now. I couldn’t believe that I had won a silver at the Paralympics. It all seems surreal,” said Hasihin in a telephone interview.
“In 2005, I fell while I was fixing the roof. I was devastated. I lost my job, was wheelchair-bound and was wasting my time at home. But one fine day, I decided that I wanted to live life. I took up archery two years ago and found my way into the elite squad.”
Hasihin, whose parents are from Indonesia, said the turning point was the semi-finals where he upset the Iranian.
“I held my nerve to beat my more experienced opponent in the semis. I went into the final with my confidence high but luck deserted me. Still, I’m so happy. This is Malaysia’s first medal in London and archery’s first Paralympic medal. I hope it will inspire others like me.”
It seemed like an early defeat in the best-of-five-match final yesterday when the Italian took a 4-0 lead after winning the first two ends with scores of 30-27 and 26-22.
But Nasihin made a remarkable comeback by winning the next two ends 23-22 and 28-27 to pull level at 4-4. Two points are awarded for each win.
They fought neck-and-neck in the three-arrow decider and ended up tied at 28-28.
It came down to a one-arrow shootout and the Italian nicked it for a final score of 6-5.
This is the first time that archery has three qualifiers for the Games. Besides Hasihin, the others are Mohd Zafi Rahman Mat Saleh and Zulkifli Mat Zin and they are hoping to shoot down a medal in the team event.
“Hasihin’s breakthrough will surely give archery a big boost in the country. I’m so proud of his achievement,” said coach Amirullah Ahmad.
Malaysia have won five medals – one silver and four bronzes – in previous Paralympic Games.