PETALING JAYA: Mum is the motivating factor for Kayalvhily to hit the bullseye in the Vietnam SEA Games.
The 23-year-old woman compound archer is bent on shooting to a gold in her debut so that she can use the incentive from the win for the medical expenses of her sick mother.
Under the National Sports Council’s incentive scheme, a gold medal is worth RM20,000.
For Kayalvhily, who was roped into the national team just three months ago, her mother is the pillar of strength as the family was abandoned by her father when she was just a baby.
Kayalvhily was sent to an orphanage at the age of 12 after her mother fell ill and had to go to a nursing home.
But it was at the Ramakhrisna Orphanage in Penang where she discovered her love for archery.
“What happened was my coach G. Shamani, who is a former national archer, came to the orphanage six years ago. She picked me and two others to learn the sport, ”said Kayalvhily, who is currently a first-year management student at Universiti Sains Malaysia.
“Initially I didn’t like the sport but fell in love with it after going for my first tournament.
“Coach Shamani is like part of my family. She takes care of me like a sister.
“I also stayed with her before I had to move to Bukit Jalil to join the national team earlier this year.”
It is a daunting experience for a newcomer to face a situation where the rest of the team expects you to deliver as this tends to happen in a team event where every arrow counts.
But having gone through the school of hard knocks from a very young age, Kayalvhily is ready to soak up any pressure that comes her way.
The Games in Hanoi is not her first international competition. She passed her international debut with flying colors, bagging a silver medal in the compound team event at the Archery Asia Cup in Phuket in March.
“I never expected to win a medal, especially since we were ranked last going into the tournament,” said Kayalvhily.
“I didn’t expect to make the SEA Games squad also but now that I am in, I will try my best not to disappoint the team.
“My target is to do well in the qualification. I want to finish in the top two to qualify for the individual competition.
“I hope to be on the podium and hopefully pass the prize money to help my mother,” said Kayalvhily.
Kayalvhily can also count on experienced team captain Fatin Nurfatehah Mat Salleh to guide her when the going gets tough.
“Fatin is one of the seniors I look up to. She is doing her PhD studies but can still find time to focus on archery. I am impressed by how she juggles her time. ”
The other team members are Iman Aisyah Norazam and Nur Aina Yasmine Halim.