KUALA LUMPUR, She may have a small build and is only 19 years old, but that did not stop national recurve archer, Ariana Nur Dania Mohamad Zairi from checking into two categories at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Even more amazing is that she will be making her debut in the prestigious Games by securing a women’s individual category ticket in only her second international appearance at the Asian Continental Qualifying Championships in Bangkok, Thailand 2023.

In fact, she also ‘led’ the women’s recurve team including Nurul Azreena Mohamad Fazil and Syaqiera Mashayikh to create history for Malaysia to be represented in the category after they reached the semi-finals of the ArcheryInParis Final Olympic Qualifier tournament in Antalya, Turkey, early last month.

With such a dramatic entry at the scene, the question is on the ‘direction’ Ariana Nur Dania will take in the games scheduled to take place at the end of this month, is she there just to gain experience or to aim for the podium?

There was a precedence
with young archers in defending Olympic champion, An San of South Korea as a source of inspiration when the South Korean archer in her debut at the Tokyo 2022 Olympics at 20 years old created history by becoming the first archer to harvest three gold medals through the individual, women’s team and mixed categories in the same edition.

In fact, San shattered a 25-year Olympic record when she scored 680 out of 720 points during the women’s individual qualification in Tokyo 2020, thus breaking the record of Ukrainian athlete Lina Herasimenko set in 1996 in Atlanta, which was 673 points.

Even so, the sky is not always clear when the Olympic champion missed the opportunity to defend her title at the Paris Olympics after being eliminated in the third stage of the South Korean national team test held in her hometown, Gwangju on March 11.

Nevertheless, it is inspiration to athletes making their first appearance at a prestigious Games to go for a podium or a gold medal by turning dream of extraordinary passion into

“If there is luck, there will be a medal but I don’t have high expectations because I know where I am in the world, I hope to do my best. The biggest competitor are from South Korea, USA, India, China and Great Britain.

“For me, these guys are very calm during the shoot and I’m impressed. So maybe that’s a factor in them being among the tops,” said Ariana Nur Dania to Bernama recently.

According to the website, Ariana Nur Dania will undergo the final ‘acceleration’ training in South Korea accompanied by two other friends, Nurul Azreena and Syaqiera to improve their technique in addition to ‘absorbing’ as much knowledge as possible for their Paris challenge.

The move taken by the National Archery Association of Malaysia (NAAM) was timely when the country synonymous with K-Pop was most successful in the Olympic Games archery event by winning 27 gold medals, nine silver and seven bronze for a total of 43 medals.

Archery was first contested at the 1900 Paris Olympics and was contested
again at the St. Louis (1904), London (1908) and Antwerp (1920) before being ‘rested’ for 52 years from the Olympic programme.

This sport was however reintroduced at the 1972 Munich Olympics and remains in the Olympic programme until now.

The 2024 Paris Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 26 to August 11.


Ariana Nur Dania Mohamad Zairi


Age: 19 years

Born: Kuala Lumpur

Siblings: Second of four children

Height: 154 cm

Started archery: 10 years

Ranking: 43rd in the world (individual)


Asian Continental Qualifying Championships Gold in Bangkok 2023

Silver in the women’s team event at the ArcheryInParis Final Olympic Qualifier tournament in Antalya, Turkiye 2024

Source: BERNAMA News Agency