Fri, 05 Dec 2003

Nerves spoil Kuswantoro's battle in archery

The Jakarta Post, Hanoi

The mood of the Indonesian archery team at the National Sports Training Center, about 15 kilometers west of downtown Hanoi, was in marked contrast on Thursday compared to its joyous mood on Wednesday.

After celebrating victory in the women's individual event on Wednesday, the team failed to take a medal in the men's event as Kuswantoro, Indonesia's best prospect, suffered an upset defeat in the quarterfinals.

Kuswantoro lost to Loh Wen Liang of Singapore by only a one- point margin of 106-107, a shock loss that the Indonesian blamed on nerves.

"I was really nervous, which caused me to lose my concentration," he told reporters after the match.

Things started badly for Kuswantoro when he stumbled to a distant four margin in the first of four shots during his match against Loh.

The Indonesian trailed 25-29 early on and although he reduced the gap to 79-80 after the third shot, Loh clung to his narrow lead right to the very end.

Despite the loss, the Indonesian camp did not look overly disappointed as they were still euphoric over the previous victory.

"What more can I say. Nerves got the better of him. That's the nature of the archery game. It can happen to any archer," coach Donald Pandiangan said.

Dudi Arfil, the deputy secretary-general of the Indonesian Archery Association (Perpani), said the unfancied Loh had played a nothing-to-lose game throughout.

"We had expected Kuswantoro to win a medal. But it appeared that he came up with an unexpectedly good opponent in Loh," he said.

The Singaporean cruised through to the final where he lost to Muhammad Marbawi Sulaiman of Malaysia 102-104 to take the silver. The bronze went to Florente Matan, who beat Tun Lin Aung of Myanmar 108-103.

Indonesia was triumphant on Wednesday after Rina Puspita Sari won the women's individual by beating Mon Redee of Malaysia in the final. Her teammate Rusena Galanteh doubled the honors by taking the bronze.