Dropped from the mixed team competition after a below-par performance in the ranking round, Atanu Das came up with a brilliant performance, scoring well under pressure to stun South Korea’s 2012 gold medallist Oh Jinhyek to reach the pre-quarterfinal stage in men’s individual archery at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
Das shot a 10 in the single arrow shoot-out after Jinhyek could manage only nine in an attempt to seal a memorable victory in a second-round match.
Pravin Jadhav had replaced Das to partner Deepika Kumari in the mixed team as he had not done well in the ranking round on July 23, finishing second behind Jadhav.
But the 29-year-old from Baranagar, West Bengal came up with a brilliant performance on Thursday, one of his best performances ever, as he shot superbly that too under pressure to tie the Korean 5-5 on set points after five rounds at the Yumenoshima Final Field.
Against Jinhyek, Das came back strongly in the second set after Jinhyek had won the first 26-25. Both archers had started tentatively but the Korean shot 8, 9, and 9 in three arrows while Das could manage only 8, 8, and 9.
However, Das did well in the second set to draw level at 27-27, hitting a nine after the Korean had managed an eight that undid the 10 he shot on the second attempt. Both archers had a nine on their first arrow in the second set.
Trailing 3-1, Das shot three 9’s in the third set, missing a chance of winning the set as he had a chance of winning it by scoring a 10 on his third arrow but could manage only nine as the two again tied at 27-27.
The Korean archer imploded in the fourth set as he shot a seven and followed it by a stunning six. Das shot eight, nine, and 10 to win the set 27-22, the archers tied 4-4 with the final round to go.
In the final set, the Indian archer had a chance to win the match with a 10 on the final arrow but could manage only a nine, the arrow just touching the border of the line.
Jinhyek, whose game had deteriorated as the match progressed, shot 10,9 and 9 in this set and Das matched him shot for shot as they tied at 28-28. With both getting a point each from this set, the score was tied 5-5, taking the match into a one-arrow shootout.
In the shootout, Jinhyek managed only a nine and Das clinched victory by hitting 10 on his final arrow to seal the victory.
In the next round, Das will meet Takaharu Furukawa of Japan and a win will put him closer to the medal round.