Javier faces tough climbBy Ted S. Melendres
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LONDON—Seemingly emboldened by more specialized training and lessons learned from his previous Games stint, archer Mark Javier shot an satisfactory classification score Friday but left himself a mountain to climb at the London Olympics here.
The world No. 117-seed Javier scored 649 points in the 70-meter men’s classification round and ranked 55th among a full field of 64 entries from 40 nations in the two-squad competition dominated by the powerful South Koreans at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
The 31-year-old Javier is scheduled to face the 10th-ranked Ellison Brady of the United States in the first round of the knockout stages Monday. The American champion shot the third best score in the second half of the 72-arrow event to finish with 676.
Javier’s measly 326-323 halves paled in comparison to the 678 (338-340) of Crispin Duenas, the crack Canadian of Filipino lineage, who ranked a lofty eighth and set up a first-round duel with Egypt’s No. 57-ranked Ahmed El-Nemr (644).
The 26-year-old Duenas, who was born in Toronto to Filipino parents from Malabon and Manila, more than lived up to his world No. 29 ranking by missing just five points his personal best of 683.
“The Koreans are better than me,” said Duenas, “but they are also human and can be beaten.”
The only other Filipino archer in the country’s 11-athlete delegation, Rachelle Anne Cabral, was still shooting for a higher spot in the women’s individual classification round at presstime Friday night (early dawn Saturday in Manila).
The you-or-me showdowns pit the No. 1-ranked finisher with the No. 64, the No. 2 against No. 63, No. 3 versus No. 62 and so on.
World No. 1 Im Dong-hyun, spearhead of the mighty South Korean squad, nailed the top spot in the 32-pair knockout stage with a new world-record 699 points, three better than the old mark of 696 he himself set at the world championships in Turkey only in February.
Another Korean, Kim Bub-min, also destroyed the old record with 698 to finish second, followed by still another Korean, Oh Jin-hyek, who fired 690.
In the competition that was held under overcast skies, Javier’s cause was left undone by a paltry opening half of 326, a score that left his South Korean coach Hung Jae-hun fidgety at the coaches’ table.
“He (Javier) did not put himself where I wanted him to be (in the classification),” said Hung of Javier, the 31-year-old veteran from Dumaguete City whose stint in the 2008 Beijing Olympics ended disastrously right in the first round. “He needs to be more consistent to be able to do well on Monday.”
Javier led his higher-ranked foe from Chinese Taipei in Beijing 2008 until the last five arrows when nerves bubbled up and drowned his bid.
Javier had earlier said he wanted to improve on his performance of four years ago.
“Isang malaking lesson sa akin ‘yung (I learned a big lesson in) Beijing,” said Javier, who shot 654 in those Games’ classification round and ranked 36th. “We have a good coach now, so we need to perform well this time.”