PETALING JAYA: The decision by the National Archery Association of Malaysia (NAAM) to enter an inexperienced women’s team for the Tokyo Olympics Final Qualifying Tournament (FQT) had almost generated a pleasant surprise.

Nur Ain Ayuni Fozi, 19 (Photo).

Nur Ain’s gallant run was interrupted by Polish world No. 32 Magdalena Smialkowska, losing 0-6.

She was only a stone’s throw from a top-four spot which could not only secure a quota for herself, but also a mixed-team spot for Malaysia.

A nation with at least one qualifier in the male and female categories is eligible to participate in the mixed team event, which will be contested for the first time in Tokyo.

Malaysia have already confirmed a place in the men’s thanks to Khairul Anuar Mohamed, who clinched his ticket as runner-up at the 2019 World Championships.

But Nur Ain certainly deserved a pat on the back for his impressive display.

After defeating Pia Elizabeth Angela Bidaure of the Philippines 6-2 in the first round, she beat former world number 8 Khatuna Narimanidze of Georgia 7-3.

The challenge of two other Malaysian rookies – Nurul Azreena Fazil and Syaqiera Mashayikh – ended in the second and first round respectively.

Nurul was beaten 2-6 by Anna Tobolewska from Poland while Syaqiera lost 2-6 to Valentine De Giuli from Switzerland.

Nur Ain, Nurul and Syaqiera were also in the team qualifiers on Sunday, but they lost 2-6 to Brazil in the first round.

The last time Malaysia was represented in the women’s event was in London 2012, when Nurul Syafiqah Hashim qualified for the individual event.

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